Company keeping cows cool

Mike Linn

Cool cows produce more milk — and more calves.
Dairymen seeking increased production visited a New Mexico Ag Expo vendor promoting a cooling system that protects cows from excessive heat.
Michael Klaseen of the Mesa, Ariz.-based Korral Kool company said excessive heat not only thwarts milk production among cows but is also a detriment to their ability to reproduce.
He said the cooling system can detect the humidity and apply proper amounts of cool fluids on a dairyman’s herd. The system then evaporates the moisture off the animal’s body and creates a cooling affect much like a wet person feels standing in a slight breeze.
“Heat stress is not unlike a sickness, so if the cows are unhealthy the natural female reactions don’t happen like they should within the cow,” Klaseen said.
Klaseen said cows begin experiencing heat stress when the temperature humidity index (THI) reaches 72 degrees. Most dairymen who own the cooling system don’t begin cooling the cows until the THI exceeds 80 degrees, Klaseen noted.
Klaseen said the cooling system — which costs about $340 per cow — is relatively new to the area but is gaining popularity in California and Arizona.
Larry Hancock, owner of Prairieview Dairy in Muleshoe, has been using the system on his cows for about a year.
“They work fine,” Hancock said. “They cool the barn probably 20 degrees. (It helps with) Cow comfort and hopefully more milk.”
The coolers look like air boat fans and generally speaking are located above the herd in the loafing areas, where cows rest when they aren’t milking.
The coolers last about 20 years, an have been proven to increase milk production by 23 pounds a day per cow, according studies conducted by Korral Kool.