It is vital to implement a dairy management strategy during extremely high temperatures for cows. High temperatures cause heat stress in animals, affecting their dry matter intake, their milk production, in both volume and components, and reproduction. Cows don’t have to be a victim of dangerous heat stress effects if a heat abatement system and products from Accelerated Genetics are utilized to their full potential.
Kellercrest Registered Holsteins, Inc. of Mount Horeb, Wis. are able to maintain a rolling herd average greater than 32,000 pounds by doing just this. The system and products they have introduced on their farm allows the Keller family to keep cows cool and comfortable during the hot summer months.
Kellercrest consists of a partnership between Tim and Sandy Keller and Tim’s brother Mark, along with his wife Kareen. Also involved on the family farm are Tim and Sandy’s children, Kimberly and Andrew. When Kellercrest expanded thirteen years ago, building larger facilities and growing their herd to 315 cows, they did not have any fans. Shortly after their expansion they placed basket fans over the freestall headlocks.
“It was a nightmare,” Tim expressed. “All the cows would pool to one end.” Mark added, “half of the barn would be empty and clean, while the other half would group together at one end.” Shortly after MacroAir came out with MacroAir HVLS fans, the Keller family decided to upgrade their fans. They purchased six 24-foot fans, having three on each side of the freestall barn. The cows spread out and were more comfortable after the installation of these new fans, which also kept the freestall barn exceptionally clean.
After adding the fans, the Keller family applied a sprinkler system for their cows to further control thermal conditions and minimize production loss. The sprinkler system is set on a hydrostat, automatically turning on when the temperature rises above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. After the Kellers saw the progressive benefits the new sprinkler system provided in the main barn, they added it to the fresh cow barn.
Another major key for the comfort of their cows was the addition of pack mats and the use of sand for bedding, as well as upgrading the stalls. “It all went in phases,” explained Tim. “Go look around and ask a lot of questions, ask people what works for them and sort it out yourself, then prioritize the things you can do.”
In addition to cow comfort, the Kellers maintain their cows’ health and productive milk yield through the use of Accelerated Genetics products, Bovine AccelLyte II and Tri-Mic 1:50. Bovine AccelLyte II is an electrolyte for adult cattle and Tri-Mic 1:50 is a direct-fed microbial.
Last year, in the middle of the summer’s highest temperatures, Dan Esch, Keller’s Accelerated Genetics sales representative, recommended they use Bovine Accellyte II, as they were struggling to maintain a consistent milk production due to the extreme heat.
“Dan brought it up and we said, ‘let’s give it a whirl,’” stated Tim. “We are always willing to try something as long as it makes sense.” And good sense it was as Bovine Accellyte II allowed Kellercrest to make it through the remainder of the summer’s heat snaps, without sacrificing intakes, thus maintaining consistent milk production.
This summer, Kellers plan to use Bovine Accellyte II as soon as the temperature starts rising. The Keller family has done business with Accelerated Genetics for as long as they can remember. “We are loyal to people who treat us well,” explained Mark. “It’s a two-way street.” “Our sales representative [Dan] treats us well. If we need product, all we have to do is call and he’ll deliver promptly,” Tim expressed.
After the use of Tri-Mic 1:50, the Keller family noticed improvement in the overall health of their cows, and with continued use, their milk components followed the same pattern. “It exceeded our expectations on butterfat,” stated Mark.
“Their manure seemed more consistent and the cows had less upset stomachs,” further explained Tim. In just one year’s time, and with the addition of three-time-a-day milking, Kellercrest increased their herd’s milk production by 2,000-pounds. In addition, their conception rate had significantly improved. “Once you neutralize things and have a good base, other things will follow,” expressed Mark.
The Kellers use Tri-Mic 1:50 year-round and mix it in with the TMR. “We enjoy seeing healthier cows and we pride ourselves in having high components,” stated Mark. “If you have healthier cows, the other things will take care of themselves.”
Source: Accelerated Genetics Press Release