If cows have accumulated heat load, systems that promote evaporative cooling will help to reduce this. Paddock sprays and sprinklers will wet the cow’s hair and skin in low humidity conditions and provide evaporative cooling.
The cows will position themselves into the evaporative cooling zone and as the water evaporates, heat is off-loaded from the cow to the surrounding environment. Sprays and sprinklers work best in low humidity conditions.
The evaporative cooling effect from paddock sprinklers increases with air movement, so if breezes and wind direction change, cooling systems require relocation to an optimal position.
The sprinkler cooling system’s location should be changed daily to avoid the formation of muddy areas and pugging. This lowers the risks of environmental mastitis by preventing cows from wallowing in mud to stay cool.
A cooling system using paddock sprays and sprinklers has a low capital outlay, but requires access to a reliable water source and dry conditions to work best.
- Lower capital outlay.
- Effective method of cooling a large number of cows.
- Requires access to reliable water supply.
- Needs to be shifted daily.
- Effective in low humidity areas only.
Cow cooler water jet sprinkler
Centre pivots and travelling irrigators
Centre pivots and travelling irrigators provide cows with evaporative cooling on warm to hot days.
This photo was taken in south-east South Australia on a 40°C day with strong northerly winds.
The pivot was orientated east-west. Note that the majority of the 700-cow herd is standing in the ‘evaporative zone’ south of the sprinklers rather than directly under the sprinklers.
Keys to success
- SHIFT PADDOCK sprinkler daily to avoid pugging and cows sitting in wet/muddy patches and so reduce the risk of mastitis.
- A CLOSE, reliable water source.