May 28 2024 03:57 PM

Miner Institute to share cow comfort before-and-after Cooling fans data with dairy industry professionals

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has announced that the result of its latest dairy cow heat stress abatement research funded by the farmer-driven program will be presented at the June 16-19, 2024 American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) conference in Florida and in the Cornell Cow Convos podcast at 12:00 pm on June 27, 2024.

"This study provided a unique before-and-after opportunity to evaluate the impact of the installation of fans on animal well-being and performance during the short periods of heat stress that are common in northern New York and do not allow the time needed for cows to acclimate," says Katie Ballard, Director of Research at Miner Institute, Chazy, New York. Ballard has overseen a number of NNYADP-funded dairy animal heat stress research projects.

Ballard will travel to the ADSA conference in West Palm Beach, Florida to present the before-and-after impact of fan installation on cow comfort and performance on a farm not previously using fans. Earlier NNYADP-funded research provided no-fans-in-use baseline data from that farm at which the farm management team installed 51-inch variable-speed, auto-control fans in 2022.

The earlier on-farm heat stress abatement conducted by Miner Institute with NNYADP grant funding showed the impact of periodic and short duration environmental heat stress events on dairy cows, particularly on higher-producing cows under northern NY conditions. The data showed decreased milk production, changes in milk composition, decreased reproductive performance, and increased rates of lameness during the episodic heat events.

The data collection includes environmental temperature and relative humidity, reticular temperature of the cows in the study, lying and standing time, lameness, bulk tank yield and milk composition, and measures of reproduction performance.

"In our earlier projects, improving air movement on one farm resulted in an hour more of lying time by the cows. One hour of increased lying time has been equated to the opportunity to gain 2 to 3.5 pounds more milk per cow per day," Ballard explains. "Our date in 2023 in terms of lameness, milk production and composition, and reproduction impact clearly showed the economic value from the use of fans."

The economic impact of climatic heat stress alone on the U.S. dairy industry was estimated at $900 million in annual losses in a research report published by R. J. Collier et al. in the ADSA Journal of Dairy Science in 2006.

The NNYADP-funded research over time suggests the question of whether recommended windspeed to increase animal comfort and mitigate the physiological impact of heat stress on dairy cows in northern New York needs to be increased over current recommendations.

Funding for the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program is supported by the New York State Legislature through the New York State Assembly and administrated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. The results of NNYADP projects are publicly-accessible at