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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 303-311 in Fifth International Dairy Housing Proceedings of the 29-31 January 2003 Conference (Fort Worth, Texas USA)  701P0203.(doi:10.13031/2013.11636)
Authors:   F. Calegari, L. Calamari and E. Frazzi
Keywords:   Cooling systems, Behaviour, Dairy cows, Milk yield

This research evaluated the effectiveness of the ventilation and misting equipment on three farms with Italian Friesian cows in the South of Italy. This research was carried out in the hotter period (May - September) during two consecutive years.

At each farm there were two homogeneous groups of animals with respect to production, number of calving and lactation phase The first group was raised in a pen with environmental conditioning system limited to the feeding area and carried out with the use of ventilation and misting (FM). The second group, which was the control group (C), was not conditioned. The microclimatic parameters (temperature and relative humidity) were recorded continuously at each farm by electronic probes which were put at animal height and connected to a data logger. Weekly individual measurements were performed on milk yield and behaviour observing the animals in different areas two times a day. The difference in milk yield between C and FM group ranged between 1-3 kg/head/day and, in the hottest period, ranged between 2-4 kg/head/day. Animal behaviour changed as the climatic conditions varied. On average, in the conditioned pen, we noticed higher values in the rate of standing animals in the feeding area (18.6 % in FM vs. 12.9% in C) and lower values in the rate of lying animals in the resting area (31.3% in FM vs. 34.0% in C). These results show the value of the treatment with the use of ventilation and misting of water; however the animals tend to stand for a longer period when the treatment is limited to the feeding area and this behaviour means an increase in physical stress.

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