Effects of adjustable and stationary fans with misters on core body temperature and lying behavior of lactating dairy cows in a semiarid climate

S. D. Anderson, B. J. Bradford, J. P. Harner, C. B. Tucker, C. Y. Choi, J. D. Allen, L. W. Hall, S. Rungruang, R. J. Collier, J. F. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Cows readily seek shade to reduce solar heat load during periods of high ambient temperature. Typically, auxiliary cooling systems are oriented to maximize cooling for shaded cows. However, when a shade structure is oriented north-south, stationary fan and mister cooling systems are unable to track shade as the sun's angle shifts throughout the day, and thus can become ineffective. The FlipFan Dairy Cooling System (Schaefer Ventilation Equipment, Sauk Rapids, MN) employs fans and misters that follow shade and compensate for wind speed by rotating on a horizontal axis. Multiparous, lactating Holstein cows (n = 144) on a commercial dairy in Arizona were cooled by a fixed system comprised of stationary fans and misters acting as control or the adjustable FlipFan operated for 16.5 h/d (0830 to 0100 h). Core body temperatures (CBT) of 64 cows (4 pens/treatment; 8 cows/pen; 6. d) and lying behavior of 144 cows (4 pens/treatment; 18 cows/pen; 5. d) were collected by intravaginal and leg data loggers, respectively. Cows were balanced by milk production, blocked by days in milk, and randomly assigned to pen within block. Pen was the experimental unit. In a second experiment, isothermal maps were developed using a fixed system of thermal data loggers arranged in the shaded areas of the pens at different times of day and were analyzed for differences in the temperature-humidity index (THI) achieved by each cooling treatment. Ambient conditions consisted of a mean temperature of 33.0°C, mean relative humidity of 40.3%, and mean THI of 80.2. Mean 24-h CBT for FlipFan was lower than control (38.9 vs. 39.1 ± 0.04°C). A treatment × time interaction was observed in which CBT of FlipFan was 0.4°C lower than control from 0600 to 0800. h and 1500 to 1600. h. Cows cooled by FlipFan spent more time lying down compared with those cooled by control (9.5 vs. 8.6 h/d). Cows under FlipFan had more frequent lying bouts than did those under control (12.8 vs. 10.7 bouts/d). Lower CBT and decreased standing time are consistent with the findings of other studies when ambient heat load was reduced. In the second experiment, the FlipFan system achieved a lower THI in the morning and evening (5.9 and 1.7%, respectively), and the THI also tended to be 0.8% lower in the afternoon compared with that of control. Results indicate that FlipFan is more effective than a stationary fan and mister system at decreasing CBT, increasing lying time and bouts, and providing a more desirable microenvironment for cows throughout the day in a semiarid environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4738-4750
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjustable fan
  • Body temperature
  • Heat stress
  • Lying behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of adjustable and stationary fans with misters on core body temperature and lying behavior of lactating dairy cows in a semiarid climate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this