Installing misting systems in dairy farms can make animals comfortable and happy, which in turn maximize milk production and a farm's profits, but what are the best misting systems for dairy farms to optimize profit?
The best misting system for dairy farms is a combination or hybrid system. Modern dairy farms require a combination of either a sprinkler or fogging system or boom and multiple forms of ventilation. Combining multiple cooling systems is the most effective way to cool your livestock.
Read ahead for a list of the best types of cooling systems and cow misters you can invest in for your dairy farm and the pros and cons of each type of system. Learn what type of cooling system is best for your dairy farm and why.
Why Choose a Misting System for Your Dairy Farm?
Dairy Farm Animals are subject to heat stress, which can cause problems with reproduction, milk quality and quantity, and many other health issues.
Dairy farms should keep cattle as close to their typical body temperature as possible. Optimal milk production is often achieved by using different methods to cool cattle.
With the cost of electricity and water in mind, the most efficient way to cool cattle isn’t just for the cattle’s well-being. Farms rely on energy-saving techniques to get the job done. Choosing a method to cool cattle as efficiently as possible is vital to a farm’s operation and profitability and the cattle’s health and well-being.
There are several methods to cool down the temperature around a dairy farm, and using the misting system is one of the better approaches.
Choosing a quality misting system and cow misters can save a lot of pain and effort in the long run. We’ll be discussing the pros and cons of some common cooling systems that are suitable for dairy farms.
These systems include Boomless sprinkler systems, cow misters, automated fogging systems, boom systems, and hybrids. Choosing a system is essential, but which system is best?
Livestock Boomless Sprinkler Systems
Dairy farms often use sprinkler nozzles and cow misters to cool the area around cattle. Standard recommendations are to shower the cattle for a short time, 30 seconds to three minutes, then let the water evaporate from the hide.
Livestock fans are used to help evaporate water from the backs of cattle but are often not included in a complete sprayer or misting system.
Common locations for installing showers with sprinkler nozzles are holding pens, where cattle are gathered close together. This method can control the amount of water used and when. Sprinkler nozzles in dairy farms are also a less expensive system to invest in.
Sprinkler systems can often operate at higher water pressures, requiring more regular maintenance. Another downside of these systems is that occasionally water can build up on the animal’s hide if showered for too long, trapping a layer of air between the water and skin, which can hold in heat instead of cooling the cattle.
Here’s an example of one type of sprinkler nozzle used with this system. There are many sizes and spray patterns depending on the number of cattle and barn set up. This brass nozzle is a ½ inch fitting and has caps for 90-degree and 180-degree streams of water. The nozzle should be attached to ½ inch pipe fittings but comes in various sizes.
Automated Cattle and Livestock Fogging Systems
In contrast to Livestock sprinkler systems, fogging systems use water droplets so tiny that they’re able to quickly evaporate and begin cooling the air without soaking the animals or their environment.
Cattle fogging systems can be helpful in dairy farms to keep the animals, their bedding, and surroundings dry to prevent disease.
Fogging systems can be highly efficient with both water and electricity. They use much less water than traditional misting systems. Fogging systems offer circulating fans to immediately cool and condition the air where cattle spend most of their time. They offer humidity control in climates where it is necessary.
Fogging systems offer automation that can turn on when a specific humidity or temperature is reached in the air. Fogging systems can be on the more expensive end of the spectrum but offer plenty of payoff for the price
Here’s an example of a fogger nozzle placed on a fogging system. This fogger nozzle is an anti-drip nozzle that prevents any soaking of the area around cattle. When attached to a fogging system, this nozzle will create a misting spray of around 20-40 inch/nozzle, perfect for cooling cattle.
Cattle and Livestock Sprayer Booms
Much like misting systems and cow misters, cattle sprayer booms can be used to cool the air around cattle. They come with the same concept of spraying cattle for short periods and letting the water evaporate using cattle fans. However, sprayer booms are more flexible in where they can be placed.
Cattle sprayer booms come in mountable and portable versions, giving them extended flexibility in larger farms with multiple pens or feeding areas. Booms offer no humidity control but can be mounted in various locations. Booms are ideal for exit lanes and feed lines and can be attached to trucks or tractors to become mobile.
Sprayer booms can be used in farms with tight layouts or narrow lanes, farms with fewer cattle, or farms with a climate much closer to the average body temperature of cattle. Sprayer booms can be one of the most inexpensive options for cattle cooling and, if your dairy farm is small enough, may offer the most considerable payoff in value.
In dairy farms that are located in warmer climates, sprayer booms may not offer enough cooling for cattle and would need to be used in tandem with other systems. Dairy farms with cooler climates wouldn’t necessarily require automation or humidity control; thus, sprayer booms may be the route to go.
Here is an example of a livestock sprayer boom, perfect for a dairy farm. This particular sprayer boom is a mountable version with a utility hose that is extendable four to eight feet and swivels 180 degrees. The Little Giant Sprayer Boom is perfect for exit lanes or compact areas of a small farm.
Ventilation Options for Dairy Cooling Systems
No matter the system you choose, one thing must be constant for peak efficiency: Ventilation.
Fans are the number one choice for ventilating dairy farms. Depending on the size of your dairy farm, one or more of these fans may be required for adequate cattle cooling.
Let's look at some different options for ventilation in dairy farms, their advantages and disadvantages.
Larger dairy farms may require multiple fans to cool cattle and create a cross-ventilated area effectively. No matter the choice in number or type of fan, [FK1] ventilation is a must for dairy farms of any size.
Hybrid or Combination Systems
Combining cooling systems is typical for dairy farms, especially farms with a large number of livestock or farms with varying needs and layouts. Feedline soaking can be used in combination with evaporative cooling methods like fogging systems. Fans are used in combinations with all methods.
Some farms find it necessary to use booms in combinations with other systems to create an effective heat stress abatement system. Dairy farms are growing larger and require multiple cooling systems in most cases. Some prefer automated systems, especially where it is affordable, but some only have budgets for sprinkler systems.
Larger farms may require a combination of cooling systems or multiple cooling systems of one specific type due to sheer square footage. Likewise, farms with warmer climates might require numerous cooling methods to ensure the wellbeing of cattle. Hybrid or combination systems are becoming more common as dairy farms grow in size and production.
Which system(s) Should I Choose?
Determining which system or combination of systems to choose is dependent on location, environment, and amount of cattle. Your farm’s specific needs could call for the use of one system or even a combination of systems.
Whether you’ve got a dairy farm in a warm or unpredictable climate, or a small farm in a cooler area, choosing the right cooling system or a combination of multiple systems will ensure that your cattle remain cool and productive.
There are several options to choose from when cooling cattle on your dairy farm. Your best choice is dependent on the average temperature and humidity of your farm, its size, and budget. Based on these factors, you may find that one or a combination of two or more systems will be the best option for your dairy farm.
Cooling System | High Pressure Fogging | Prevent Heat Stress in Cows