The answer is yes, one ventilation system can be sped up or slowed down to work all year round, from the coldest days of winter to the peak of heat during the summer. You can run a summer system at half or quarter speed to get the basics of what you need and reduce your air exchanges to create an ok environment for your herd.
The question should be: Is adapting a system designed for one purpose ‘good enough’ when it comes to meeting all the needs of your herd.
This past week, I sat down with Midwest USA Territory Manager, Jeff Bowman to ask him why he’s so passionate about having separate dedicated ventilation systems for the different seasons, and here’s what he had to say.
“Let’s say you want to buy a compact truck because you want good gas mileage. You also want to pull some loads with it, and go mudding with it, whatever. Yeah, it might do all of those jobs, but it will only do one of those things well.
When talking about cow comfort and ventilation needs in barns, the focus of your ventilation system is very different in the winter than in the summer. On hot days, the focus of the system is on creating the airspeed needed to keeps cows cool. We all know the benefits of introducing airspeed onto the cows back, but do we think about the negative effect of concentrations of cold air in the winter created by that same system?
In the winter we’re focused on air exchange, not speed or flow, at the cow level, and we have to be concerned with how (and at what speed) that air is introduced. So, we need a system that can do the exchange a slow level, without damaging herd health by introducing cold air where we don’t want it.
Distributing air evenly and consistently into the cow’s space typically requires a conscious effort and dedicated equipment. Systems that exchange summertime air do it on a large scale (typically created to perform at or near a 1-minute air exchange) without concern for considering doing it on a micro level in the cow’s space.
In order to effectively ventilate your barn in the winter months, you need a system that is specifically designed with the challenges of winter ventilation in mind. Move air along your roof to minimize condensation. Spread air inlet, and avoid the drop of inletting cold air. Create a consistent environment without creating airspeed.
Don’t cheat yourself and your cows by using a compact truck to do the job designed for a one-ton pickup. At the end of the day, you’re compromising your bottom line.”