Housing

Cow comfort

Reducing environmental stressors to improve dairy cow comfort

Published: 6/14/2013 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

A pressing, and often-overlooked matter that poses a significant challenge on most of today's dairy farms is maintaining cow comfort. There are a wide variety of environmental stressors that must be taken into consideration in a dairy operation, and they have a direct impact on the production level of the cows. Some of these stressors include; heat stress, poor ventilation, improper stall/feed-bunk design, and not having adequate access to water. Conditions such as these are not only stressful to the cows, but also greatly affect their physiology and productivity. Fortunately, there are practical and economical solutions available to deal with these issues.

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Barn design

Effects of rubber alley flooring on cow locomotion and welfare

Published: 2/20/2013 Written by: Pernilla Norberg

This study, which was made at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, investigated the effects of rubber alley flooring on cow locomotion, claw and leg health, production, cleanliness, grooming behaviour and cow exclusion rate in a free stall herd.

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Biosecurity

Develop strategies and standards to prevent introducing intramammary infections into a herd

Published: 6/18/2012

To prevent introducing mastitis pathogens into a herd when purchasing cows, a balance has to be struck between minimizing the probability of purchasing an infected cow and maintaining sufficient choice in the population from which to select replacements. This is also influenced by the farm attitude to risk – what degree of risk is acceptable for purchasing an infected cow.

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Cow comfort

Good housing and good management = more milk

Published: 5/12/2011 Written by: Monica Wadsworth

Herds with similar genetics fed the exact same ration can differ 29 lbs/day (13 kg/day) in production, depending on management and housing. If you multiply this by herd size, you'll see what cow comfort can do to your farm's profitability. By improving cow environment and comfort you can optimize the cow's time budget, behavior, health, performance and profitability. Rick Grant from the Miner Institute explains how in this free webinar from Hoard's Dairyman.

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Bio security

Keeping birds out can help control feed costs

Published: 7/18/2011 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

With the high cost of feed these days, it is the largest expense in raising dairy heifers. One way to control feed costs is to manage shrink. Shrink is defined as the amount of feed delivered or grown on a farm that is never consumed. Experts estimate that shrink may account for 5 to 30 percent of feed purchased.

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Manure management

Making the most from manure

Published: 4/20/2011 Written by: Deanne Meyer

Efficient resource management is becoming increasingly important and dairy producers are under a lot of pressure to comply with environmental regulations while at the same time cutting costs. By evaluating your manure management and analyzing inputs to the waste stream you can identify management and infrastructure options that can reduce the waste water volume. The atmospheric losses of nitrogen from the manure can be minimized by looking at alternative outlets for the manure. It is important to evaluate what management practices and technology you need that will improve both air and water quality. There might even be new resources for revenue available, such as emission reduction credits and renewable energy credits.

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Cow comfort

Are your cows comfortable?

Published: 4/25/2011 Written by: Marcia Endres

Have you observed your cows’ legs and feet lately? Watched them walking? What about their eyes? Have you taken a close look at their production and health records? Cows are talking… showing us in many ways if they are comfortable in the environment and management we provide. Cows can give us signs, by how they look, perform and behave, on whether or not they are at ease.

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Barn design

Five steps to designing the ideal transition cow barn

Published: 4/12/2011 Written by: Nigel B. Cook

Over the last few years, the Food Animal Production Medicine group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have used their clinical experiences troubleshooting fresh cow health problems on farms, research conducted by other groups, and their own research findings to formulate a plan for designing transition cow barns which results in optimal health and performance. In this article, Nigel Cook summarizes the planning process they have devised and used successfully to create these new facilities.

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Cow Comfort

Opportunities for improved cow comfort through freestall barn renovations

Published: 3/25/2011 Written by: Jeffrey Bewley

Cow comfort can be improved dramatically through modification of existing freestalls. Often these changes can be made with minimal expense. Before undertaking such an effort, one should be evaluate long-term plans. Determine whether the existing facility truly has enough positive attributes to renovate or if building a new facility would prove more beneficial and cost effective. Observing cow behavior can provide clues for evaluating what changes could be made. Modifying one shortcoming may not always improve the situation if other problems still exist, but cow comfort improvements achieved through freestall modification can provide immense benefits to animal well-being, milk yield, and cow longevity—all while minimizing farmer frustration and stress.

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Cow comfort

Considerations in flooring

Published: 11/28/2005 Written by: Curt A. Gooch

Modern dairy confinement facilities are housing cows for much if not all of their entire lives. Concrete is the prevalent flooring surface in dairy barns and shelters at this time. Concrete must be properly grooved or patterned to provide confident footing for cows.

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Ventilation

Improving mechanical ventilation in tie stall barns

Published: 12/19/2006 Written by: John P. Chastain

Many tie stall or stanchion barns do not provide adequate ventilation. Proper ventilation is needed to remove moisture and manure gases year-round, as well as excess animal heat during mild weather and the hot summer months. Proper ventilation results in a healthier and more productive environment for both cows and people in the building. This paper describes inexpensive methods to provide satisfactory exhaust ventilation in existing dairy barns.

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Lighting

Dairy lighting system for free stall barns and milking centers

Written by: John P. Chastain Richard Nicolai

Proper lighting in a milking center and the housing area will add to a high quality working environment to improve worker efficiency, safety, and comfort. Provision for the right amount of light may improve the productivity of dairy workers. Research trials indicate that supplementing lactating cows with 16 to 18 hours of light per day increases milk production by 5 to 16% as compared to cows exposed to 13.5 hours or less of light per day (Peters, 1994). The purpose of this article is to provide the dairy producer with enough information to design or evaluate the lighting in their facility. The article is arranged using a step by step design procedure with background information and design tables. At the end are examples of dairy lighting for a milking center and free stall barn.

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Housing

Transition cow housing and management

Published: 2/27/2013 Written by: John Tyson

Transitioning cows from the dry period into and through early lactation has a huge effect on the overall production and health of the entire herd. The way we house and manage the dry and prefresh cow ultimately determines the level of production she can achieve.

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Heat stress

Cost effectiveness of intensive cooling cows in summer in dairy farms located in South China

Published: 6/19/2012 Written by: Israel Flamenbaum

Dairy farmers over the world, mostly in hot regions, are familiar with the negative impact of heat stress on their cow’s performance, but only few of them have the means to quantify the economical losses caused by hot summer, as well as the potential benefit that can be obtained, when intensively cooling their cows in this season.

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Cow comfort

Have a plan for heat stress

Published: 6/13/2012 Written by: Monica Wadsworth

Summer is fast approaching, bringing with it the promise of hot weather and added stress for dairy cows. The symptoms of heat stress are easy to recognize. Rapid, shallow breathing with respiration rates of at least 60 breaths per minute, open mouth panting, extended tongues, and drooling are all indicators of animals experiencing heat stress. Less apparent are the effects this has on the cow internally.

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Housing

Barn layout affects milk yield

Published: 4/12/2011 Written by: Monica Wadsworth

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

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Housing

Odor From Feedlots Setback Estimation Tool - OFFSET

Published: 4/7/2011 Written by: Larry D. Jacobson David Schmidt

Prediction of odor problems is important as rural and non-rural areas converge, and when discussing odor problems related to animal agriculture, the following questions often arise: How far does odor travel? Are animal numbers or animal species accurate predictors of nuisance odors? How much odor control is needed to solve an odor problem from an existing facility? Can the odor impact from a new facility be predicted? At the University of Minnesota a tool has been developed that will answer some of these questions.

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Barn design

Dairy barn design from an ethological perspective

Published: 3/16/2011 Written by: Erika Lindgren

When planning a functional barn for milk production, a lot of factors need to be considered. The environment should be rational, safe and healthy for both staff and animals. The barn should promote a good production but also allow the cows to behave naturally to sustain a good welfare. Knowledge regarding behavioural responses of different building designs may contribute to the development of new planning strategies for dairy barns.

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The dairy farms

Folsberga farm - Sweden

Published: 3/17/2011

When the new barn was built at Folsberga, cow comfort was high priority, with mattresses in all cubicles, rubber-covered feeding areas, cow brushes, good ventilation and automated manure scrapers.

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Housing facilities

Compost barn basics

Published: 5/28/2008 Written by: Milkproduction.com staff

Composting bedded pack dairy barns, commonly called compost barns, are generating interest among dairy producers who are upgrading their milking herd facilities. Minnesota has at least six compost barns in operation and more under construction. Producers interested in modernizing their dairy housing facilities are considering compost barns as an alternative to freestall barns for milking herd and special needs housing.

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Cow comfort

Cow comfort effects on milk production and mastitis: a field study

Published: 8/18/2009 Written by: Ynte H. Schukken Douglas G. Young

A field study made by Cornell University shows that second lactation cows showed a significant increase in daily milk production and a decrease in clinical mastitis when a cow brush was installed.

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Cow Comfort

Cow comfort - Introduction

In this article series you can find out how cow comfort can contribute to your profitability. Cows should behave naturally and stand or lie down easily. Mastitis, sore feet, rubbed necks, and rubbed or swollen hocks can indicate cow comfort problems. In these articles you will find all the basic information about cow comfort based on the behaviour and needs of cows.

Read more »

Cow comfort article series

In this article series you can find out how cow comfort can contribute to your profitability. Cows should behave naturally and stand or lie down easily. Mastitis, sore feet, rubbed necks, and rubbed or swollen hocks can indicate cow comfort problems. In these articles you will find all the basic information about cow comfort based on the behaviour and needs of cows.

Link to article series>>