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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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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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Regardless of which hemisphere you call home, if you run a dairy, maintenance issues can sneak up on you. The CIP Detectives were recently called to an 800-cow operation in Japan to catch any culprits that could be affecting milk quality.

The dairy in Japan was ISO-certified for environmental management and had been successfully operating for more than 100 years.

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At first blush, the floors of milking parlours would seem to be one of the last areas of concern for dairymen. Typical milking parlour floors are generally concrete slabs designed to withstand the heavy loads of the milking cycle.

Unfortunately, concrete is by no means the perfect long-term solution to safe, hygienic floors. Lactic acid will attack unprotected concrete, as will chemical cleaners.

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Before you know it, the sun will be shining and hay will be lying in the field ready to be baled. Does your normal spring round baler start-up procedure go something like this? Connect round baler to tractor.

Turn on the PTO and hope something doesn’t break.

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Cow comfort is an all-encompassing term, which includes almost everything we do on a dairy farm. When we really think about the whole picture, every minute detail has an influence on the comfort of the cow.

As an example, the location of the facilities is a major consideration. Are they near or on a hilltop, in a valley, by trees or by a large body of water? This influences ventilation, which is a major component of cow comfort.

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