Current Progressive Dairyman digital edition

Barns & Equipment

Whether using a tiestall, freestall, dry lot or pasture, here are some tips for cow comfort and maintaining farm facilities and equipment.


There’s a famous saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and they – whoever “they” is – are right.

And while it’s a well understood cliché, in this recession, most people would be happy with a free appetizer. Or maybe a free drink – anything to help offset the costs of the overall meal.

Now, apply that logic to energy efficiency projects on your farm. Sure, it’s unlikely someone’s going to drop an energy-efficient motor or pump at your front door, but there are ways you could get some of the costs reimbursed for your energy-saving efforts.

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Heat stress is an economic cost for U.S. producers. It is estimated that hot weather costs dairy farmers $900 million per year in reduced milk production and reduced fertility. In addition, heat stress is an animal welfare issue, as severe heat stress can result in death.

Animal behavior can provide insights into how and when to cool dairy cows. We will review the behavioral responses to heat stress and examine results from studies looking at two common methods for cooling dairy cattle: shade and sprinklers.

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Flies are just as annoying to cows as they are to people. But two types of flies cause actual discomfort for cows – stable and biting flies. Both of these flies bite and draw blood. Here are some tips for recognizing and controlling them.

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Why is cow cooling important?

Cooling dairy cows is important for several reasons. Cows enjoy temperatures in the range of about 40°F to 68°F. At temperatures above this range, cows use more energy to get rid of the excess heat. To get this additional energy, the cow must either eat more feed, use less energy for milk production or reproduction or convert body fat reserves to energy.

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Cavitation is called the cancer of the hydraulic system. Like cancer in humans, it can be a silent killer of your system by eating away at the hydraulic pump and other parts of the system.

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Milking equipment cleanliness and proper functionality play a big role in achieving peak milk quality. Often when producers attempt to correct problems related to high standard plate count (SPC) or protein, fat and mineral buildup in their pipeline and inflations, they find a variety of issues to blame. Such was the case with a Progressive Dairyman reader who wrote to us in search of answers.

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