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Barns & Equipment

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

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Dairy operations can be subdivided into sets of tasks. When these tasks are thought about individually, they are very simple. Collectively, these tasks represent the overall operation of successful dairy production.

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Tractors and other farm equipment can be a challenge to start in cold weather, so many farmers install block heaters to preheat their engines.

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Despite a general appreciation that a clean, dry, comfortable place to lie down for dairy cows is associated with improved milk production and health, there is reluctance by farmers to remodel existing facilities to achieve this goal. It is very easy to understand why. Industry recommendations for stall design have not been consistent, with much debate among consultants over appropriate dimensions and size over the last few years. Also, the construction of partial budgets has been hampered by a lack of knowledge of the potential financial benefits that might accrue from stall improvements, when compared with quite substantial costs that have been relatively easy to measure.

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Producers spend millions of dollars building indoor housing for dairy cattle, with the aim of providing a comfortable environment for their animals – one that ensures adequate rest, protection from climatic extremes and free access to an appropriate, well-balanced diet.

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The dairy industry has been modernizing, for over 20 years, with new technology such as fans, stable cleaners, manure pumps, fluorescent lighting, milk-cooling equipment, compressors, transponders and alarm systems, etc.

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When choosing lighting fixtures for dairies, producers should understand the differences between T-5, T-8 and LED bulbs and fixtures.

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