Heat stress in dairy cows
Well-ventilated cow housing and adequate levels of natural light in buildings are key elements to ensuring the continued productivity of housed cows during the hot, summer months.
Traditionally, letting natural light into cow housing is achieved by installing fibre glass panels and low level GRPs in the roof of a building. Whilst these components help to increase light levels within cow housing, they have the adverse effect of focusing the heat from the sun in certain areas of a building; creating ‘hot spots’ and increasing the chances of cows located within these hot spots suffering from heat stress.
Heat stress has a serious and negative impact on cow health and performance. As such, dairy producers are being advised to avoid the extensive use of fibre glass panels and low level GRPs as a source of natural light in buildings and opt for different alternatives.
One such alternative is to install an open ridge in cow housing. The benefit of this system is that the open ridge provides a large outlet for stale air to rise out of, aiding the flow of air within a building. This directly increases levels of ventilation within cow housing - in itself significantly reducing the risk of heat stress within housed cattle - whilst also letting in plenty of natural light down the centre of a building, away from cattle cubicles and avoiding the development of dangerous ‘hot spots’.
Control heat stress without sacrificing natural light levels
Marley have recently launched a natural light protected open ridge system which has all the traditional light benefits of an open ridge, but uses a clear GRP sofit strip to also stop rain entering a building. By using a transparent strip made from polycarbonate resin over the ridge, light is channeled into the centre of a building, high above cattle, preventing ‘hotspots’, and this light falls over the feed passage where extra light is often in short supply. The clear GRP strip lets in the maximum level of light into a building and reduces the need for fiberglass roof panels and artificial sources of light, whilst also achieving the ventilation benefits of a traditional open ridge.
Click here to find out more about open ridge.