This summer study aimed to evaluate the effect on dairy cows, kept in a free stall barn equipped with fans and sprinklers in the feeding area, of the delivery rate of misters in a cooling system in rest areas with different bedding materials. Thirty cows were divided into two homogenous groups according to milk yield and kept in two pens: one had beds with sand (SAMM) while the other had straw (STLM). Each pen was equipped with 2 fans ( 70 cm, 0.50 kW) and 2 misters (delivery rate of 11.2 and 22.5 L/h in STLM and SAMM, respectively) in the rest area. Microclimatic parameters, rectal temperature (RT), breathing rate (BR), milk yield, and some milk traits were recorded. Behavioural routines of the cows (standing and lying) were also continuously recorded during the hotter days. During the trial, two mild-moderate heat waves were observed. During these hotter periods, the daily maximum temperature recorded in the rest areas was 28.9 in SAMM and 31.2 in STLM, and the daily maximum THI was 78.2 in SAMM and 81.5 in STLM. In these periods, the cows in SAMM compared with those in STLM showed lower BR (P < 0.05) and greater rest time (10.2 and 7.8 h/day in SAMM and STLM, respectively). The RT did not differ (38.89 +/- 0.29 and 38.88 +/- 0.33A degrees C in STLM and SAMM r,espectively). In conclusion, our research suggests that the cooling system using fans plus misters with mild wetting in rest areas with sand as bedding materials reduces heat stress and improves cow comfort.
- dairy barn