Shade is the most important consideration for reduction of heat stress. Sprinklers and fans are able to improve heat load reduction further.
It is worth considering how these can be integrated into existing infrastructure.
The main options for shade, sprinklers and fans are explained in the following guides. These guides balance the factors that should be considered when investing in cooling infrastructure. The right combination of cooling methods based on how the farm operates is the key to reducing heat stress.
Herd condition considerations
- Your herd’s susceptibility to heat stress – low / moderate / high – based on location, breed, milk production level and age profile of herd.
- Walking distances for cows between paddocks and the dairy, and between the dairy and the feedpad (if you have one).
- The amount of tree shade already present in the paddocks and laneways.
- Whether you are willing to wait long enough for shade trees to grow.
- Whether it is feasible to provide adequate tree shade in paddocks to all your cows each day.
- What irrigation infrastructure and water is available.
- Whether there is a shady loafing paddock available near the dairy.
The design considerations provide information about the construction, maintenance and daily operation of cooling systems; whether they are shade sails, fans or sprinklers.
- What feeding infrastructure and equipment is currently available? Is the feedpad surface concrete?
- Which feeding system is used? A hybrid system or a TMR system? Does the herd graze over summer?
- How many hours do the cows spend in the dairy yard before each milking?
- How many times a day do you milk?
For each option its strengths and limitations are listed and the keys to success are described.
These guides support decision-making around the best placement of resources, time and effort into improving infrastructure in paddocks and lane ways, the dairy yard and feedpads.
Soft-roof Shade Structures
Compare the benefits and limitations of soft-roofed shade structure in heat stress managementRead more
Feedpad Shade Structures
Examines the role of shade structures over feedpads to reduce heat loads in dairy herds.Read more
Compost bedded pack structures
Compare the benefits and limitations of providing shade over a compost bedded pack.Read more
Portable shade structures
Compare the benefits and limitations of portable shade structures as a cost-effective shade infrastructure option.Read more
Trees for shade
A guide for positioning natural shade using trees with a list of useful local resources and contacts.Read more
Sprinklers & Fans
A combined fan and sprinkler system can be an effective method of heat stress management in Australian dairy herds.Read more
Paddock sprays and sprinklers wet the cow’s hair and skin in low humidity conditions and provide evaporative cooling.Read more
Water supply and access
Changes to farm infrastructure may be appropriate for the improvement of water security or boost water efficiency.Read more
Stock water supply
Water quality tips and effects on stock water supply and heat stress management.Read more