Barn layout affects milk yield

Increased space and better access to water has proved to be beneficial to primiparous cows, and barn layouts without dead-end alleys and improved water capacity is beneficial for all cows in free stall systems, according to a Norwegian study published in Journal of Dairy Science in March 2011

The study investigated possible associations between barn layout and milk yield for different parities in small dairy free stall barns. 204 free stall barn layouts were merged with milk yield data and calving interval for each parity. The mean herd size was 42.7 ± 15.5 cows, and the study showed that:

• only primiparous cows benefit significantly from increased free space allocation.

• milk yield was generally higher in automatic milking system barns compared with that in barns with milking parlors, but not for primiparous cows.

• milk yield was higher for all parities for barns using separation pens in accordance with the recommendations

• barns with two or more dead-end alleys had lower milk yield compared with that from layouts without dead-end alleys

• primiparous cows benefited from water troughs located for easy access and responded with increased milk yield

• in 10 per cent of the barns, the water trough capacity was less than 47 per cent of the recommendations, and all parities benefited from a water trough capacity higher than this level.

• higher parities had increased milk yield when water trough capacity was more than 80 per cent.

• feed bunk space, number of free stall rows, and the location of free stalls had no significant effect on the milk yield.

Source: Layouts for small freestall dairy barns: effect on milk yield for cows in different parities by Næss G, Bøe KE, Osterås O. Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Mathematical Sciences and Technology. Journal of Dairy Science Volume 94, Issue 3 , Pages 1256-1264, March 2011

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Monica Wadsworth

Monica Wadsworth
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