NNYADP-Funded Research Evaluates Summer Heat Relief for Dairy Cows
Chazy, NY. Summer heat in New York State has been estimated to cost the dairy industry $23 million a year in total economic losses that include decreased milk production, decreased milk components, and impact on animal health and reproduction.
The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program funded research by the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Chazy, NY, to assess ways to help cows adjust to the hottest days of the year. The final report on different types of heat abatement systems for dairy cows is posted at www.nnyagdev.org.
“Our investigation evaluated the impact of different heat abatement systems on the cows and milk production under Northern New York summer climate conditions for insight on the best ways to keep cows comfortable and healthy and to maintain milk yield in times of heat stress,” said Miner Institute Director of Research Katie Ballard.
The project worked with three groups of Holstein cows at Minter Institute from June 10 through August 28, 2016. The types of heat abatement systems evaluated included the use of fans, an evaporative cooling system with water nozzles attached to fans, and different bedding types.
The cooling measures were applied in different settings, including barns, feed alleys and milking parlors.
The research team recorded temperature and humidity for each group every 15 minutes, wind speed in feed alleys and bedding areas, the amount of time the cows were standing and lying, and milk production for each cow. Milk samples were analyzed for fat, protein and other components which draw premium income.
“The higher producing cows appear to be more sensitive to heat stress. Providing maximum heat abatement measures over stalls and feed alleys helped keep the cows more comfortable, hold milk production steadier, and maintain milk fat percentage,” Ballard noted.
The results of the project will be presented at the 2018 American Dairy Science Association meeting in Knoxville, TN. Results of the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded dairy calf heat stress relief research conducted by Miner Institute were presented at the 2017 American Dairy Science Association meeting.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program-funded research on heat stress and its impact on dairy cattle performance continues in 2017 on four commercial dairies in Clinton and Franklin counties.
The farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provides research and technical assistance to farmers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Senate and administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.