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FACILITIES & EQUIPMENT

Whether using a tie stall, freestall, dry lot or pasture, here are some tips for cow comfort and maintaining farm facilities and equipment.

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Editor’s note: The following article is the first in a series of articles regarding current heat stress research and heat abatement techniques.

As temperatures are beginning to rise, now is the time to start thinking about heat stress in your herd and ways to mediate this problem on your dairy operation.

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Summer has arrived, and with it comes heat and humidity. Now is the time to prepare your heat stress and fly control measures. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you are ready for this summer’s heat:

Have you checked to see if your fans are clean to maximize air movement and save electricity?
Most of us get so busy this time of year that we forget this simple task. Dirty fans can use up to 70 percent more electricity to deliver 50 percent less air movement. This is important to mature animals, youngstock and calves.

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When looking at pregnancy rate data for many Canadian dairies, you can instantly tell when summer begins without even looking at the date.

It’s not uncommon to see pregnancy rates cut in half during the hottest periods of the summer.

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Despite the fact that free-cow traffic is the norm on robotic milking farms (in the Netherlands around 90 percent of farmers choose this option), we often get questions from farmers about directed-cow traffic.

“What does Vetvice think about directed-cow traffic?” they ask us.

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From tractors to loaders, to machinery in the milking parlour, dairies depend on equipment to run their operations. The use of equipment allows dairies to operate more efficiently.

However, equipment required to run a dairy farm is one of the most common causes of death and serious injury on farms. According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting, there were 11 fatal work-related injuries in agriculture per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2008.

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Lameness in dairy herds often results in a loss of profit. Each incident of lameness has been estimated to cost producers $346 per year. Preventing lameness is key, and when it does occur, recognize the signs early.

 Preventing and recognizing lameness will result in an increase of the overall dairy herd health and therefore will increase profit.

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