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CLIMATE CONTROL IN THE REARING OF YOUNG CATTLE (Part 2)

HEAT STRESS

Cattle, (including young stock), can suffer a lot from heat stress. Heat stress also costs extra energy.

This extra energy is at the expense of optimal growth and development of the animal. A delay in development will result in a higher calving age.

 

Most important is the wind chill at animal level. A dilemma is that during warm weather it is not possible to automatically increase the air speed in the calf shed with the aim of lowering the perceived temperature.

If you do this, you increase the risk of pneumonia in calves.

 

It is important to keep the difference between body temperature and the temperature of the ambient air as low as possible. The younger the calves, the lower the air speed and this temperature difference should be!

 

Good air control and ventilation technology is based on the principle that with the lowest possible air speed, as much heat and moisture as possible is removed. And, moreover, as much fresh air as possible is supplied.

 

Ventilation aimed directly at the animal (as often used at dairy cows) is totally unsuitable for calves. Systems that can be used are in particular systems with a large air volume and therefore a low air displacement speed.

MOISTURE

Moisture plays an important role in the spread of pathogens. As a result, moisture greatly increases the risk of lung problems including pneumonia.

 

Preventive vaccination against pneumonia gives good results on many farms.

I myself am in favor of tackling problems at the source. For example, you can ask yourself whether vaccination will solve the actual cause of the problem (pneumonia), or whether vaccination will only avoid the real cause of the problem.

 

Moisture drops can contain many germs that penetrate deep into the lungs through inhalation. That is why it is important to keep the humidity low enough. Do this by adequate ventilation in combination with good air exchange.

 

Sufficient and correct ventilation is not easy, especially in the periods “end of winter / start of spring” and “end of summer / start of autumn”.

There are often relatively low temperatures during these times of the year, while the humidity is absolutely high.

The trick is to use ventilation to limit the amount of incoming (often cold) air somewhat, while removing as much moisture as possible from the shed.

 

The same challenge in terms of moisture removal also occurs in hot and humid weather conditions.