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Efficient Dairy Cow Cooling with Low-Pressure, Low-Volume Evaporative Systems

Heat stress becomes a significant challenge for dairy farmers as temperatures rise, impacting cow health, milk production, and overall farm efficiency. Traditional cooling methods, like high-pressure soaker systems, use large amounts of water, raising concerns about water conservation and wastewater management. An effective alternative is the low-pressure, low-volume evaporative cooling system, which delivers the same cooling effect while using a fraction of the water.

Understanding Evaporative Cooling
Evaporative cooling works by applying water to the cow's skin, which then evaporates, removing heat and cooling the cow. This process is highly effective when combined with high-speed air, typically provided by fans, to enhance the evaporation rate and ensure maximum cooling efficiency.

Advantages of Low-Pressure, Low-Volume Systems
Low-pressure, low-volume systems deliver ultra-fine droplets of water onto the cows' skin, simulating the natural cooling effect of sweat. These systems use significantly less water than traditional soaker systems, making them more sustainable and cost-effective.

"Spraying the cows increased milk yield and decreased body temperature and respiration rate compared with the control (0 gal/min); however, no additional improvements were observed for applying more than 0.45 gal/min and water usage was reduced 73% for 0.45 gal/min compared with the 1.3 gal/min treatment." Dr. John Bernard UofGA

Water Efficiency: Studies, such as those conducted by Dr. John Bernard at the University of Georgia, show that low-pressure systems can reduce water usage by up to 50% compared to conventional systems. For instance, the Core Cool System, a low-pressure, low-volume system, uses less than 0.34 US gallons of water/hour/stall or 1.3 liters of water/stall/day compared to1.2 – 6.6 US Gallons of water/hour/cow or 4.5 - 25 liters of water/cow/hour used by traditional soaker systems, without compromising on cooling efficiency or cow comfort.

"Our trials showed no differences in cow body temperature, respiration rates, or milk yield between low-pressure and high-pressure systems, while water usage was significantly reduced. This indicates that low-pressure systems can effectively mitigate heat stress with a fraction of the water." Dr. John Bernard UofGA

Consistent Cooling: Despite the reduced water usage, these systems maintain similar body temperatures, respiration rates, and milk yields in cows as high-pressure systems, demonstrating that low-pressure systems are equally effective in mitigating heat stress.

A farmer from Wisconsin highlights, "We like how efficient the water usage is. Bunk soakers use too much water and fill up manure pit storage way too quickly. The system achieves cooling while using a fraction of the water of a soaker system."

Reduced Manure Pit Volume: Excess water from traditional soaker systems often ends up in manure pits, increasing the volume of waste that needs to be managed. By using less water, low-pressure systems help reduce the volume of manure slurry, easing the burden on waste storage and disposal.

"The Core Cool System saves us 2,000 gallons of water a day in the summer. That is a lot of water we don't have to use to keep the cows cool and it's a lot of wastewater we don't have to build storage for. Not only do I not have to store it, I also don't have to spend money agitating it, pumping it, spreading it. The savings are incredible." Brad Palmer, PA


Improved Cow Comfort: These systems can be installed over critical areas such as free stalls and feed alleys, encouraging cows to spend more time in these areas, fostering natural grazing behaviors with 10 to 14 trips to the feed bunk a day, leading to improved feed consumption and enhancing cow comfort, leading to better lying times, which is correlated with increased milk production.

Research and Field Results

Numerous studies have validated the effectiveness of low-pressure evaporative cooling. Researchers from Auburn University and the Miner Institute observed significant reductions in water usage with no adverse effects on cow health or productivity. In humid climates, like the Southeastern U.S., these systems maintained cow body temperature and respiration rates effectively while using much less water.

"The temperatures and humidity during June and July were consistent with chronic heat stress conditions typically observed in the Southeast resulting in a temperature humidity index greater than 72 throughout the trial. 
• The core body temperature of the cows was similar for both systems and averaged 101.83 and 101.82 for low and high-pressure mister systems, respectively. 
• No differences were observed in respiration rates which averaged 61.5 breaths/minute.
• Water usage was 43% lower with the low-pressure system compared with the high-pressure system.
These results suggest that a low pressure mister system can be used to effectively cool cows and reduces the volume of water required for supplemental cooling."


Practical Implementation
Implementing a low-pressure, low-volume evaporative cooling system is cost-effective and straightforward, as it doesn't require pressure pumps, stainless steel nozzles, or other expensive components. Core Cool Systems embodies the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple & straightforward) approach by using tap pressure water (30-45 psi) P.E.X. pipe and user-friendly "sharkbite" style fittings. Its innovative quad-tip nozzle technology and high-velocity airflow ensure precise water distribution. The fully automated system adjusts water application and cycle duration based on real-time temperature and humidity readings, optimizing cow core body cooling and water usage.

Low-pressure, low-volume evaporative cooling systems provide an efficient and sustainable solution for managing heat stress in dairy cows. Core Cool Systems supports improved cow comfort, environmental sustainability, and farm profitability by significantly reducing water usage while maintaining effective cooling.

If your mission is to cool cows, save water, and reduce electricity usage, consider the effective and efficient Core Cool System. On-farm success since 2010 makes Core Cool a "tried and true" choice for cow cooling. Experience the benefits of innovative dairy cooling technology. Contact Nancy at 330-717-8852 or email nancy@corecoolsystems.com. Visit corecoolsystems.com to learn more.

P.S. One of the key issues in dairy operations today is managing the capacity to store manure and wastewater. With the Core Cool System, you'll save water and drastically reduce the volume of wastewater, leading to significant cost savings in pumping, storage, and application.

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