Year-round cow comfort is essential for milk production. Maintaining steady temperatures and proper ventilation not only increases total production throughout a cow’s lactation cycle, but will help maintain peak production regardless of the season, resulting in increased profitability. HVLS (high volume, low speed) fan technology uses the concept of uniform air movement to create a natural environment for dairy and other livestock-housing facilities in an amazingly quiet, energy-efficient and cost-effective way.
It’s routine for dairy producers to consider turning on their cooling fans only when the temperature humidity index (THI) begins to rise in warmer weather, which makes sense when the cost of operating numerous high speed fans carries a severe economic impact. With current milk prices low, all variable input costs and consequential returns have to be closely monitored.
As a cost-effective alternative, HVLS fans are specifically designed so fan speeds and air velocities can be adjusted as needed. Constant air circulation provides the much-needed air movement to help transition milk cows year-round despite seasonal changes and provides optimal cooling during the hottest months. Compared to traditional on/off high speed fans, the variable speed control on HVLS fans allow the user total management of cow comfort needs.
From a technical perspective, HVLS fans, ranging in size from 6- to 24-ft. in diameter, operate using a small 1 to 2 horsepower motor and specially designed airfoils with winglets created to move air effectively and evenly. The deep steady jets of air and their extensive reach combine to move air over obstacles, providing comfort to all areas of the barn. More recent developments of this technology allows these very large fans to virtually eliminate EMI and RFI (electromagnetic and radio frequency interference) “noise” prevalent in older technology (and still used by some), thus causing no interference with electronic identification and robotic milking systems. Other benefits include the reduction of flies and birds, drier alleys and reduced bacteria counts.
It’s important to note that air movement and increased ventilation should not be limited to summer use, but rather be incorporated year-round to maintain air quality and even temperatures. During cooler months reducing the velocities of HVLS fans will continue to improve air quality but will not cause wind chill.
By improving herd health, dairymen not only maintain production through lactation cycles but may also increase total lactations per cow. Additionally, reducing the speed of HVLS fans during cooler months allows producers to stratify the warm air created by body heat released from cattle.
With their small motors, immense coverage area and effective air movement, HVLS fans cost only pennies-per-hour to operate which is a negligible amount compared to the extraordinary costs of cooling using ineffective high speed fans. HVLS fans make cow comfort easily attainable year-round without affecting the bottom line.