We’d like to share a recent article by CowSignals Training Company. If you aren’t yet familiar with the company, CowSignals trains cattle farmers, feed consultants, breeding consultants, barn design consultants, vets and other cow enthusiasts throughout the world in the field of practical cattle management.
CowSignals Training Company released a series of seven articles about CowSignals® to improve health production and welfare of cows. The articles discuss feed, water, light, air, rest, space and health.
Included below is a brief excerpt from the third article about light, authored by Joep Driessen, a Dutch dairy vet with 15 years experience in advising dairy farmers in 45 countries. His Vetvice team is active in CowSignals training, Barn Design and Dairy management (source: CowSignals® Holland):
The CowSignals Diamond: what is the weakest spot in your dairy?
Look, Think, Act, do something to make your cows
and yourself happy!
Why do we need light?
We need enough light to do a proper observation of the cowsignals and the situation in the barn. Can you easily detect slime and discharge?
More light makes you feel happier! So turn on the light to see more and have more working pleasure.
Why do cows need light?
Cows like daylight, it makes them feel happy, just like farmers.
More light also means more feed intake. In several research we see that cows produce more milk because the dry mater intake goes up due to extra light. Some tests tell us that even with the same amount of dry matter intake cows will still improve their milk yield due to more light. It seems that the light exposure on the eye has a direct effect on natural hormone production and milk yield.
With more light cows show better heat signs. They are more active and therefore easier to detect. Some farmers place a timer on the lights that lightens the barn a half an hour before they arrive in the morning. Cows are then already in their normal day activity, and it is possible to score the cows for any heat signs. Some farmers will react on some slight ear twisting and chin resting of an expected cow, as the only visible signs from last nights heat.
Some farmers turn on the lights for 24 hours per day. This is a waste of money! We
find a little more feed intake, but a lot less fertility. Cows need the change of day and
night to let the eggs grow and release from the ovaries. With 16 hours of light per day
we find the optimum feed intake and still a good day-night rhythm for max fertility.
We invite you to read the full article, available at Light CowSignals Series 3 of 7 Articles on CowSignals 2011. (© copyright CowSignals® Vetvice The Netherlands www.cowsignals.com)