All animals have what is known as a ‘thermal comfort zone’. A temperature range within which the animal’s comfort is optimal. In the case of dairy cow this zone is between -13°C and +25°C with a body temperature of between 38.4°C and 39.1°C.
With livestock being housed for up to 12 months of the year, attention is being focused on ventilation as a key spoke of the wheel to profitability and animal welfare alongside nutrition, water, bedding and breeding stock. High yielding cows are prone to heat stress, therefore while we may wish and long for summer sunshine our dairy herds are thinking quite the opposite. Heat stress can lead to:
- Reduced food intake.
- Increased water intake.
- Lower conception rates.
- Lower calf weights.
- Increased mastitis.
- Reduced yield.
Here at Hydor we have over 50 years of ventilation experience within a variety of livestock applications and now, in partnership with Mole Valley Plus, have an extended range of products designed to meet the challenging variety of buildings and livestock held within. The use of fans to provide positive control of air speed and direction can improve cow health, welfare and productivity. The type and number of fans varies from farm to farm, building to building, depending upon usage, location and the herd being housed.
“Many farmers are obsessed with extracting air from livestock buildings and believe that knocking a hole in the gable end wall and installing a fan will solve the problem’ says John Lack , Hydor’s General Manager. ‘In most cases this achieves little and can often result in airflow being short-circuited.” “Where the air enters a building, is far more important than where it leaves and with most buildings being of Yorkshire board construction this results in multiple air entry points” John continues. “In this situation, there is no control over either the speed or distribution of the fresh air with some areas subject to draughts while ‘dead’ pockets of stale air remain in others.”
In such buildings, Hydor advise a tunnel ventilation system, using either the Hydor HV belt-driven fan units (available in sizes up to 2m in diameter) or the Hydor air recirculation fan, ideal for long direct thrusts of air (various sizes and duties up to 630mm). For calving and smaller units there are two size options, either 450mm or 630mm of the positive pressurised systems, using perforated polythene ducting which will deliver an even flow of clean air right down to animal level without creating draughts. “The air is evenly distributed and farmers don’t have to worry how and where it leaves.” With continuing increases in temperature over time, along with increasing herd sizes and housing timeframes the use of fans to create airflow to help maintain a healthy, fresh environment is increasingly important. .