7 Mistakes to Avoid in Holding-Pen Cooling

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Holding-Pen Cooling
6/14/2017

Here’s how to overcome the top seven mistakes made in holding-pen cooling:

  1. Group size grew, but holding-pen size didn’t. The holding pen should be sized to allow 15 square feet per cow. 
  2. Holding pen was expanded, cooling was not. When this happens, people usually justify it on the theory that cows won’t spend much time in the back part of the holding pen, so it’s not necessary to expand the cooling capacity. When the number of cows grow so should the cooling length of the holding-pen.
  3. Failure to use automatic controls to trigger the cooling system. If you didn’t install automatic controls to turn the cooling system on and off as conditions change, you probably aren’t getting the best return on your investment. Fans should be set to turn on at 65 degrees F and must run year around as needed. Soakers should be triggered starting at 68 F to 70 F and set to soak cows every five to six minutes.
  4. Failure to make timely repairs to the cooling system. Regular preventative maintenance is needed to keep the cooling system performing as expected. In addition, you need to explain to your employees the value of the cooling system so that they understand the importance of fixing cooling system components promptly.
  5. Bringing the next group of cows up too soon. This practice not only heats cows up unnecessarily, but leads to cows spending too much time away from the feedbunk and their beds. Holding pen time should not exceed two hours per day for any cow.
  6. Not using exit-lane cooling. Failure to use exit-lane cooling is a lost opportunity. Soaking cows as they leave the parlor helps keep them cool until they get back to their pens.
  7. Improper design. This makes cooling the cows even more difficult.

For a more comprehensive explanation and to see tables associated, click here.

Tags: Management Tips; Heat Stress