For many years, farming was all about gut feel and personal experience. Today, we have innovative technology and data on our side and that can help dairy farmers improve production rates, lower costs, and more.
One of the key areas that dairy farmers should be aware of is how the right stall design can increase milk yield, increase profits, and keep cows happier and healthier. Here’s what you need to know.
Comfortable Cows Have a more Pasture-like Experience
We know the reality of dairy farms doesn’t lend itself to cows spending their days in the pasture. So, we find solutions that provide a near-natural experience in the barn.
When cows are in comfortable stalls, it takes less time for them to lay down. This means that they are less tired when they do and they get comfortable faster. That gives them more time to ruminate and digest, which all results in better milk production. Here are a few important facts about stall design and milk production from various studies:
- When dairy cows lay properly in their stalls, they have lower levels of somatic cells, which is directly related to udder health and milk production
- Somatic cell decreases can be anything from 37,000 to 102,000, which has a positive impact on milk production
- There is also a 30% increase in blood flow to the udder when cows lay down in their stalls, which means better udder health and increased milk production
- Cows that are housed in comfortable stalls will yield anything from 3 to 14 pounds of milk per day
- Fewer cows will experience lameness – in fact, cows will have up to 15 to 20% less chance of becoming lame with comfortable and well-designed stalls
- Dairy farms with well-designed stalls have 6 to 13% less turnover
According to research, the ideal time before a cow lies down in her stall after entering it is five minutes, and when that is consistently the case, they lay down for longer periods of time, meaning that for every additional hour of lying time, farmers can expect to have 5 pounds or 2 liters more milk production, on average per cow. That’s a significant impact on your herd’s productivity!
What Makes a Good Stall?
Now that you know the benefits of a well-designed stall, what makes a good stall? There are several factors:
- Good stalls reduce fear and anxiety, which prevent cows from lying down. Well-designed stalls make your cows relaxed and comfortable
- There are fewer injuries when your cows are housed in well-designed stalls
- Proper stalls are compact but have enough room for cows to lunge forward to get back onto their feet from a lying position
- Barns with optimally designed stalls can increase lying time by as much as 40% over barns without them
- Lying down in a well-designed stall allows your cows’ hooves to rest and dry off longer, both of which contribute to better overall health
- Finally, well-designed stalls are built with safety in mind, so your cows will not injure themselves when using them
Over the years, we’ve discovered that the optimal stall design is somewhere between all steel and all flexible. If you’re looking for a stall option that offers a proven ROI and improved milk production or just want to know more about the research that we’ve based our designs on, we’d love to hear from you.
Find out more about GREYstall flexible stalls by contacting our team. We’re always happy to provide detailed information about our products and how they can help you to produce more milk and have healthier, more comfortable cows.