So, you have a ventilation system and strategy in place…but are you aware of these three common, hidden risks of summer?
1. The increased static pressure in your power ventilated barn can drastically affect the performance and longevity of your fans by creating negative pressure when the air isn’t free-flowing through the barn. In cross and tunnel vent barns when you suck air through the barn from a small inlet you create negative pressure your fans have to compensate for. Fans will have to work harder and will lose efficiency if they are running under a static pressure greater than what they were designed for.
A key takeaway from this is to open up your inlets early, make sure your fans have lots of air to pull through your barn.
2. Some well-ventilated barns aren’t getting air to the cows. Just because all the fans are running, it doesn’t mean they are doing the job the way they should. You should still use an airflow meter to ensure that the air is getting to the areas where you need it most. You want to ensure that you are getting airspeed at the cow level in the free stalls. Airspeed along the ceiling or down the drive-through lanes does not do you or your cows any good.
Having airflow directly on your cows will encourage laying as well as facilitate convective and evaporative cooling.
3. Dry cows are often overlooked when it comes to ventilation and cow cooling. Dry cows need ventilation and cooling even though they are not currently producing milk. Heat stress on late gestation dry cows reduces their immune functions and increases chances of the death of the fetus, shortens the gestation period often resulting in reduced calf birth weight.
Contact your veterinarian or herd health specialist to discuss cooling for your dry cows and develop a strategy.
Every facility needs a ventilation strategy that is tried, tested, and customized to meet the specific needs of their barn and herd. Bringing a ventilation strategist in to talk about the challenges of your facility and solutions can make a big impact on your farm.