Expert Insights

Upgrade Herd Performance with Minimal Heat Abatement

Heat abatement is a necessary part of dairy farming, as it plays a pivotal role in maintaining your herd's health, well-being, and productivity. Dr. Mario Mondaca, from VES-Artex, emphasizes the significance of implementing heat abatement methods to enhance your herd’s overall performance as he says, “Even minimal heat abatement is incredibly impactful!” By implementing simple yet effective heat abatement strategies, including ventilation and cooling, producers can ensure that their cows remain comfortable, continue to produce milk, maintain reproductive performance, and efficiently convert feed into valuable dairy products.

How Do You Know if Your Facility Meets Requirements?

To ensure your facility meets adequate heat abatement requirements, we recommend that you review your facility for these key performance indicators:

  • Ventilation rates for summer and winter
  • Airspeed at the stalls in hot weather
  • Airspeed and cooling in the holding area
  • Provide soaking during the summer
  • Ensure cows have shade and enough access to drinking water

How Do Fans Help?

Proper ventilation is essential to maintaining a comfortable environment for animals. In colder temperatures, it helps maintain air quality and humidity levels, circulating the warm air helping with freeze-ups, and ensuring that cows remain comfortable and productive. In hotter temperatures, ventilation prevents the build-up of excessive heat and moisture, which can be detrimental to the well-being of your herd. While most cooling in dairy is done through water which requires a humidity gradient, exhausting the humid air maintains the cooling systems operating at peak performance.

Another key option that is similar to ventilation is resting height airspeed. Adequate airspeed at the cow's resting height (approximately 0.5 m above the stall) is critical for cooling. While the recommended airspeed between 2-3 m/s is essential to mitigate heat stress in your herd, a cow experiences the most benefit when increasing ventilation from dead air to the minimum cooling airspeed of 1 m/s. It is beneficial to ensure that your herd receives at least the minimum cooling airspeed as a first step and then reaches the recommended airspeeds. 

Alex DeJager, Vista Verde Dairy, says, “The number one thing the VES-Artex fans have done for our facility is milk production…We stay more consistent…from spring well into June and July. The summer heat does not stress out the cows as much as it did.”

What Can You Do to Assist in Heat Abatement?

Proper management and investment in simple heat mitigation measures are critical for a dairy operation's overall success and sustainability. Many facilities have found positive results from installing directional louvered ECV fans. Unlike traditional panel and basket fans, our internal testing has shown that ECV fans can be spaced further and provide a wider distribution of cooling airspeeds at the cow level than smaller panel fans. This can have cost and management benefits while maintaining adequate cooling velocities.

Heat Abatement Examples & Testimonials

Huddlestone Farmers found they have an average 15% increase across their June, July, August, and October conception rates since installing VES-Artex fans. Keith Gue, Huddlestone Farmers Ltd in Steyning, England, says, “While we were confident they were going to make a difference, we didn’t know how much difference they were going to make…For us, that’s probably going to result in an 18-month payback on the initial installment of these fans. So, well worth doing, I think.”

Roland Detko, Claessens Dairy in Somogyszob, Hungary, says about VES-Artex fans, “We saw a huge improvement in daily milk production, especially in the summer months, as it went up two kilograms per head. And we also see really good results on conception rates…it went up from 25% to 40%.”

Martin Zahumensky in Mikuláš, Slovakia, says, “I would definitely recommend to everyone to buy fans from VES-Artex because we got really good support with the installation and also saw a big benefit on our dairy reducing heat stress.”

As you can see, dairy producers can make a big difference in their barns by providing cooling airspeeds to their cows. A small investment in your cow comfort protocols can have a huge impact on your milk check and reproduction rates. 

Heat abatement in your facility is essential for maintaining the well-being of the animals, maximizing milk production, ensuring reproductive success, and minimizing economic losses associated with heat stress. VES-Artex’s mission is to cow welfare first and we are happy to assist with your heat abatement needs. Contact your dealer for assistance.

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