Annually, dairy farmers see milk production decline during hot summer days. The cows visibly suffer from heat stress. This is easily prevented by using fans to provide the cows with a fresh breeze. However, can you just mount fans anywhere or are there specific things to consider? We asked our dairy specialist which factors he takes into account when advising customers. Pascal has over 15 years’ experience in the agricultural sector. Besides his general knowledge he specializes in ventilation solutions in dairy farming.
Situation in the barn
To be able to give good advice, we first look at the barn and the conditions, both in and outside of the barn. The first question we usually ask the owner of the barn is: “How is the situation in the barn? What and where are the specific issues you are encountering.”
Heat stress is a direct and common issue, but it is also important to look at other factors. How is the situation in cooler periods such as the fall or spring? Does it smell strongly of ammonia? Are there flies, spider webs or damp spots in the barn? These are all important first impressions that indicate a lack of air movement in the barn.
Location and construction of the barn
During the construction of a dairy barn, the different environmental factors outside of the barn are usually taken into account. In the Netherlands, we know that, 60 to 70% of the time, the summer wind comes from the southwest. Additionally, one can generally find stronger wind near the sea than further inland. In mountainous areas, barns are generally built in areas with higher altitudes to make use
of the cooler air. We of course advise you to make use of this ‘free’ natural ventilation.
What is the best position to mount a circulation fan?
In order to determine this you have to consider several aspects. As every barn is built differently, customization is the key to reach an optimal result. We have included a few guidelines for you below:
• Provide a refreshing airflow over the cubicles. This is where the cows spent the largest amount of time.
• Save at least 1.5 meters of free space on the suction side of the fan for optimal efficiency.
• Make use of existing trusses to mount 130-centimeter basket fans with a chain or to install smaller basket fans directly.
• Mount a 130 cm basket fan between double cubicles. The reach of the fan is wide enough to provide both cubicles with a cooling effect.