Do you remember our case study about cooling & cross-ventilation system?
We talked about it in an exhaustive article you find here.
Three years after the beginning of the project we visited the "La Torre" farm to check the current status and to have a chat with the owners…
The main data over these years have always remained unchanged:
- 360 heads of Italian Friesian milk cows
- Closed-barn size 70*42
- Exhaust fans: 21 EOC model 53s
- Cooling pads: 15/45 with anti-algae treatment
- Panel structure: 70*3 MFX model
The benefits of a closed barn
This summer we went back to meet Marco and Walter San Martino during an unexpected heatwave that could put anyone to the test.
As soon as we entered their shed, we had a pleasant feeling of freshness and we didn't see any cows in a state of heat stress or suffering.
Therefore, we evaluated together which improvements and advantages they encountered in the transition from an open barn with mechanical air circulation to a closed structure equipped with exhaust fans and evaporative cooling pads.
- In a closed barn, the ventilation system keeps running all year long. This happens in order to maintain optimal air quality in the environment by eliminating harmful and unpleasant gases but also to guarantee a more pleasant temperature during the cold winter nights.
to avoid the formation of ice inside the structure means to eliminate the main cause of malfunctioning of the equipment.
- During the hot season, the animals remain quietly lying down 14-16 hours a day thus promoting digestion without having to stand looking for relief from the heat and, consequently, stressing themselves out.
- Reduction of water intake: living in a situation of greater well-being, cows do not need to crowd for the watering thus worsening their thermal stress; instead they can wait for their turn quietly, which also improves the relationship between cows.
- Constant food intake: the quantity of food remains almost unchanged all year round. Like humans who tend to be less hungry during the hot season and prefer some kind of food rather than others, the same happens for cows: in case of particular stress, they prefer to look for refreshment rather than to eat.
The main advantage of constant intake of food also allows the farmer to use less additives and, consequently save money.
- Reduction of mastitis and lameness treatments: they are among the first serious consequences of heat stress in cows. Take care of a sick cow for the breeder is a cost that can also lead to the drastic decision to kill the animal. Preventing these problems becomes crucial to safeguard the herd and keep high productivity.
- Increased milk production: it is well known that the perfect equation in this business is happy cow = more milk. In our case, it is obvious to the breeder that productivity has steadily increased over the last three years after the installation of the cooling cross-ventilation system.
- The Dry Cows are also refreshed: during their two months of rest between pregnancies, they are normally neglected a little. Cuddling them even when they are not technically productive brings benefits for the future.
The Calf farm
The San Martino family decided to invest also in the calf farm located next to the main barn.
Although smaller in size, they decided to keep the idea of the closed barn with the combination of exhaust fans + evaporative cooling pads.
In this case, they choose box fans model EWD31 with a Pericool evaporative panel mounted on the MDFX gutter system.
In this environment, the calves are welcomed during their first weeks of life, in the period in which they are weaned and they need to grow before they are placed together with the adult animals.
Moreover, at this stage the first step of socialization takes place: the older calves begin to share the space with other animals in order to understand how to live together and get used to the group life in which hierarchies exist and the strongest tends to overwhelm others.
It is therefore important to maintain a pleasant and comfortable climate that allows the young to grow healthy, minimizing the risk of contracting illness or suffering from heat.
The opinion of the breeder
"I can easily say that after three years the cost of the plant is totally amortized. With the animal welfare achieved in comparison to the previous situation (mortality rate and quality of the meat), the investment is paid back.
The evaporative cooling pad really creates a cool environment and it is a true cold source.
When using nebulizers directly on animals to cool them down, THI is always wrong and the data is not reliable.
The combination of cooling pads and exhaust fans makes it possible to optimize the climate in the barn and the farm can customize the use of the system according to the external climatic situation, reducing costs and with tangible results. Percentage consumption is lower: it cools more and at a lower cost ”.@v@