A cow’s ideal temperature is between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So while summer is a great time for ice cream, it can be stressful on dairy cows.
That said, here at Barstow’s Longview Farm, and common practice among most dairy farms, is to keep our girls cool and comfortable.
(1) We provide our herd with plenty of water. In cooler temps, our ladies are drinking about 25 gallons of water per day. Compare that to 33 gallons on a 80 degree day!
(2) The barns are shelter from the sweltering sun! We make sure our ladies always have access to shade, whether they are in the milking barns or our on pasture with barn access for high noon. The barns have excellent ventilation and there are few points the girls can go and not feel a breeze.
(3) Enormous fans in the barns help remove radiant heat. Our electricity usage nearly doubles in the summer to run our fan system. Luckily that electricity is Cow Powered from our anaerobic digester!
(4) Sprinklers over the feed alley, combined with fans, provide the best heat removal in most barns across the nation – including ours. The sprinklers go off every 8 minutes over the cows’ backs keeping them cool and comfortable.
(5) Cows need a minimum of 36 to 48 sq. ft. to prevent heat transfer between cows. We make sure our groups have enough space to move around, eat, sleep, and visit the milking robot without feeling crowded.
(6) We try to keep our farm as stress free as possible. However some days we need to do parts of our job that could potentially add stress to our herd. Changing bedding, moving age groups, checking hooves, or routine vaccinations are some examples. On very hot days, we let our girls take it easy!
(7) And of course we take down tarps on the barn meant to block out winter and remove the warm coats from our calves. You can learn more about how we keep our animals warm in the winter time from a previous post: Aren’t the Cows Cold?
Our herd is our family!
It is in the farmers best interest to keep a controlled and comfortable climate for his animals. Because a comfortable cow is healthier, costs less money to care fore, and makes more, and makes better quality, milk!