Yes it is extremely hot this week at both Bridgewater and Oakshade Dairies. This is likely the toughest heat spell we have seen since we first began milking cows in Northwest Ohio.
Unfortunately, cows don’t do well in traditional air conditioning, but we have our own style of air conditioning. It was actually designed by researchers at Kansas State University, over 10 years ago.
We have fans that keep a 15-20 mph wind over the cows. And water that soaks them with water every 5 minutes just before they enter the parlor. This cool water and wind helps lower their body temperature, much like you might feel on a hot day at an amusement park. You know when you standing in a long line and you come in front of those fans and misters. Ahhh, how comforting.
We also have fans in all the freestall barns at both facilities to keep them cool as they eat and rest. Bridgewater also has the luxury of soaker nozzles next to the feed bunks in every barn to keep the cows cool as they eat.
Cows definitely prefer cold weather like 40 degree weather. We do everything possible to help them through this hot weather. The cows can regain their strength much better under 70 degrees. So anything we can do to get the air temperature below 70 degrees helps. Even if we have to resort to rain dances.
Let’s hope this heat wave ends soon. It’s tough on the animals, people, and crops.
For more info on cow cooling strategies check out this link.