Dollars and Sense: Constant Cow Comfort Tweaks

September 30, 2015 09:45 AM
Dollars and Sense: Constant Cow Comfort Tweaks


Katrina Curti Rainey
Tulare, Calif.

The Raineys milk 550 Jerseys at Rainimade Dairy. Katrina helps her dad with his 2,800-cows at nearby Curtimade Dairy.


Rather than tell you about our stall sizing that will only fit Jerseys, our sand bedding management or our stocking density, I’m going to discuss a few things we have economically adapted, enhanced and retrofitted on a lease facility.

Having identified too long of time on concrete for cows, we cross fenced a pregnant pen of 200 cows and converted it to two pens of 100 cows. Prior to this adjustment, milking times varied by cows within the pen as we relied on milkers to move an estimated half of the cows from the pen into the holding pen to be milked. The remaining cows stood in the free stall barn waiting their turn.

rainey_pricesNow milking time is more consistent for cows from each of the pens. All of the free stalls are also challenged by limited available water trough space. The cross-fencing made it even worse,  so we converted four free stalls into water troughs.

In the last year we have also added 95% density shade cloth, utilizing quite a bit of existing infrastructure in our hospital and close-up area and our one milk cow feed lane that previously had zero shade cover.

One of the more specific examples is we added shade cloth to a loafing pen that we converted to a close-up heifer pen so prepartum heifers and cows could be separated. We also knocked down two feet of concrete in our holding pen to improve air flow and added iWob soakers to the already existing Rain bird style soakers that were in the pen.

Cow comfort is an ongoing discussion with our employees. We remind our team to treat every cow as if she is the only cow.

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