A Comprehensive Analysis of Novel Dairy Cooling Systems, Their Cooling Efficiency and Impact on Lactating Dairy Cow Physiology and Performance
AdvisorCollier, Robert J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractCooling systems used to reduce heat stress in dairy operations require high energy, water usage, or both. Steady increases in electricity costs and reduction of water availability and an increase in water usage regulations require evaluation of passive cooling systems to cool cows and reduce use of water and electricity. A series of experiments were conducted to evaluate the use of heat exchangers buried as components in a conductive system for cooling cows. In the first experiment six cows were housed in environmentally controlled rooms with tiestall beds, which were equipped with a heat exchanger and filled with 25 cm of either sand or dried manure. Beds were connected to supply and return lines and individually controlled. Two beds (one per each kind of bedding material) constituted a control group (water off), and the other 4 (2 sand and 2 dried manure) used water at 7°C passing through the heat exchangers (water on). The experiment was divided in 2 periods of 40 d, and each period involved 3 repetitions of 3 different climates (hot and dry, thermo neutral, and hot and humid). Each cow was randomly assigned to a different treatment after each repetition was over. Sand bedding remained cooler than dried manure bedding in all environments and at all levels of cooling (water on or off). Results from this experiment demonstrated that bed temperatures were lower and heat flux higher during the bed treatment with sand and water on. We also detected a reduction in core body temperatures, respiration rates, rectal temperatures, and skin temperatures of those cows during the sand and water on treatment. Feed intake and milk yield numerically increased during the bed treatment with sand and water on for all climates. No major changes were observed in the lying time of cows or the composition of the milk produced. The efficiency of conductive cooling as a heat abatement technique in dairy production is highly correlated with the distance between the cooling system and the skin of the cow and the type of bedding material used. A second experiment was conducted to identify possible improvements in the utilization of conductive cooling for cooling cows. Heat exchangers buried 12.7 cm below the surface as components in a conductive system ware evaluated in this study. Six cows were housed in environmentally controlled rooms with tie-stall beds, which were equipped with a heat exchanger and filled with 12.7 cm of either sand or dried manure. Beds were connected to supply and return lines and individually controlled. Two beds (one per bedding material type) constituted a control group (water OFF), and the other four (two sand and two dried manure) used water at 7°C passing through the heat exchangers (water ON). The experiment was divided into two periods of 40 days and each period involved three repetitions of three different climates hot dry (HD), thermo neutral(TN) and hot humid (HH). Each cow was randomly assigned to a different treatment after each repetition was over. The sand and water on treatment was the most efficient treatment under heat stress conditions (humid or dry heat). Cows in stalls with the sand and water on treatment demonstrated lower rectal temperatures, respiration rates, skin surface temperatures and core body temperatures compared to the other three treatments. Additionally, the sand and water on treatment increased milk yield and resting time of cows under heat stress. Also, the sand and water on treatment had the lowest bed surface temperatures and highest heat exchange compared to the other treatments. From these two experiments we confirm that heat exchangers are a viable heat abatement technique that could reduce the heat load of heat stressed cows; however, this system should be paired with additional cooling systems (e.g. fans and or misters) to most efficiently reduce the negative effects of heat stress on dairy production. Additionally, Sand was superior to dried manure as a bedding material in combination with heat exchangers. To make further recommendations of the use of heat exchangers in commercial dairy farm, a third study was developed. Based on the data obtained in the previous experiments, a comprehensive energy balance was developed to fully understand conductive cooling in two different environments (HD and HH), two bedding materials (sand and dried manure) and two depths between cows and the heat exchangers (25 vs. 12.5 cm). The energy balance estimates indicated that sand is the most efficient bedding material when utilized as bedding material with conductive cooling in both hot dry and hot humid environments. In the hot-dry environment there was an increase in the conductive heat exchanged with the reduction in bedding depth to 12.5 cm, however this did not result in a reduction in the heat storage of cows. In the hot-humid environment when heat exchangers were placed 12.5 cm from the top of the bed there was an increase in both the conductive heat loss and heat storage of cows when compared to 25 cm. Additionally, results demonstrated that the efficiency of heat exchangers as measured by heat flux was improved when heat exchangers were at a depth of 12.5 cm. The sensibility analysis indicated that a reduction in the depth and/or an increase in the thermal conductivity of both bedding materials would maximize conductive heat exchange. These results should be utilized as recommendations for the utilization of heat exchangers and conductive cooling in commercial dairy farms. Evaporative cooling is widely used in dairy farms located in arid environments. Even though, these cooling systems have been shown to effectively reduce the heat stress of lactating dairy cows, a growing shortage of water and rising cost of electricity compromise its future usage. An experiment was developed to compare two evaporative cooling systems, their interaction with lactating dairy cows and their usage of natural resources. The efficacy of 2 evaporative cooling systems (Korral Kool, KK, Korral Kool Inc., Mesa, AZ; FlipFan dairy system, FF, Schaefer Ventilation Equipment LLC, Sauk Rapids, MN) was estimated utilizing 400 multiparous Holstein dairy cows randomly assigned to 1 of 4 cooled California-style shade pens (2 shade pens per cooling system). Each shaded pen contained 100 cows (days in milk = 58 ± 39, milk production = 56 ± 18 kg/d, and lactation = 3 ± 1). Production data (milk yield and reproductive performance) were collected during 3 months (June–August, 2013) and physiological responses (core body temperature, respiration rates, surface temperatures, and resting time) were measured in June and July to estimate responses of cows to the 2 different cooling systems. Water and electricity consumption were recorded for each system. Cows in the KK system displayed slightly lower respiration rates in the month of June and lower surface temperatures in June and July. However, no differences were observed in the core body temperature of cows, resting time, feed intake, milk yield, services/cow, and conception rate between systems. The FF system used less water and electricity during this study. In conclusion, both cooling systems (KK and FF) were effective in mitigating the negative effects of heat stress on cows housed in arid environments, whereas the FF system consumed less water and electricity and did not require use of curtains on the shade structure. Results of this research indicate that effective use of conductive cooling in combination with efficient evaporative cooling systems offer opportunities to reduce both water and electricity consumption on dairy farms under both hot dry and hot humid environments.
Degree ProgramGraduate College