Completed Project Report


Managing variable costs on dairy farms through energy use assessment and conservation

  • Award Amount: $23,066
  • Regional Center: North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center
  • Grant Program: 2013 Unrestricted Grants

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Project Overview

The risk of inefficient use and management of environmental control systems (lights, ventilation, cooling systems) on dairies is increased energy usage and electricity costs, but also decreased milk production. Energy conservation during periods of heat stress requires making the most of the environmental control system to provide cow comfort, resulting in improved milk production. A series of four workshops were held on dairies in South Dakota and Minnesota to illustrate the importance of and self-assessment techniques for monitoring animal comfort and environmental control system performance. Equipment and assistance were also provided to producers interested in detailed assessments of temperature distribution in their barns pre and post workshop. A change in knowledge as a result of the workshop was measured through a post-workshop survey (including producers, equipment suppliers and industry consultants), wherein the average level of understanding for the topics of temperature-humidity index, behavioral signs of heat stress, production impacts of heat stress, principles of air distribution, fan performance and evaporative cooling methods increased. Surveys indicated participants intended to adopt heat stress monitoring, airflow pattern detection ad fan maintenance procedures where there formally were none. A factsheet and benchmarking tool is available online.

Number of Participants: 101

Results

Project Steps

PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS

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EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS

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DELIVERY AREA

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