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|Two Arizona dairies run trial of adjustable fan cooling system|
|Dairy basics - New Technology|
|Written by PD Editor Dario Martinez|
This article was #3 in PDmag's Top 5 most-well read New Technology articles in 2011. Click here to jump to the article.
Summary: Cows at Grand View Dairy and D. Kulper Dairy in Arizona were some of the first to experience the FlipFan Dairy Cooling System. The design of the system allows the 36-inch fans to rotate 180 degrees to point outside of a shade structure. It also features control options that allow producers to adjust for time, temperature, humidity, milking and feeding times and, new to the industry, wind speed and direction.
Because this article was so popular, we asked Schaefer Ventilation Equipment President and CEO Neil Crocker some follow-up questions:
Q: What type of interest have you received? How do you quantify that interest?
In addition to the customer interest, two significant field tests were performed in 2011. Dr. Todd R. Bilby with Texas AgriLife Research and Extension of Texas A&M conducted a field test in Stevenville, Texas. Dr. John F. Smith, dairy specialist at the University of Arizona, in collaboration with Robert Collier, University of Arizona and Dr. Cassandra Tucker of the University of California, conducted a field test in Arizona. Results from both tests will be available shortly, but in both cases FlipFan very effectively cooled cows with no significant change to ground moisture in and around the corral.
Q: Have you made any modifications to the product?
A: FlipFan continues to improve and evolve. For 2012, the fans will come standard with Class “F” motors (certified to 60 degrees Celsius ambient temperature) and stainless steel fan blades. Dairymen will have the option of 1/2 or 3/4 HP fan motors and medium-pressure or high-pressure misting. The environmental inputs and controls have continued to evolve, and the iPad/ iPod-driven control system is now much more powerful and user-friendly.
Q: Are you working on any additional features, enhancements or new options?
A: In 2012, the controls will continue to evolve, including the incorporation of wind direction in the fan steering algorithm and the ability to control multiple systems from a single control panel.
Q: What uses or benefits have your customers found that you hadn't thought of?
A: FlipFan was initially designed to efficiently and effectively “keep the cooling on the cows” in extremely hot and arid climates by adjusting fan direction and mist quantity in response to sun angle, wind speed, ambient temperature and ambient humidity. We mainly expected to see enhanced dry matter intake and milk production. The early adopters of FlipFan are also seeing improved herd health and significantly improved fall conception rates.
—Neil Crocker, President and CEO, Schaefer Ventilation Equipment
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Schaefer Ventilation Equipment recently released this video of their FlipFan Dairy Cooling System. View the video or read the article below to find out more about this new technology.
Although the winter months are quickly approaching, it is not too early to start reviewing ways to better manage the factors that could impact your operation’s milk production levels next year, such as cow comfort and cooling.
In the summer of 2010, Schaefer Ventilation Equipment ran a trial of the FlipFan Dairy Cooling System on two Arizona dairies, Grand View Dairy and D. Kuiper Dairy. The trial was established to determine the types of benefits and added improvements this type of cooling system could provide dairies across the southwestern portion of the U.S. during the hot summer months.This system’s fans are able to perform on a higher plane than previous systems have in the past. They can be adjusted based on a variety of external factors, unlike stationary fans that are permanently fixed in one position.
“Our decision to go with the FlipFan Dairy Cooling System was partly brought on by my old system being twenty years old and they were stationary fans,” says Darryl Kuiper, owner of D. Kuiper Dairy in Buckeye, Arizona. “We can actually reverse the direction of the mist and cool the cows where they want to lay.”
This cooling system combines 36-inch, high-velocity fans and misting systems with a horizontal rotational mounting structure that allows the fans to “flip” 180 degrees to point outside of the shade structure, which enables nighttime cooling as well.
The following are a few areas in which this system may be able to help on your operation.
Day and night cooling
The most critical time for your cows to recover from the heat stress that accumulates during the day is at night, after sunset. However, if nighttime temperatures are insufficiently low, your cows will not fully recover before the next day’s heat accumulation begins, which could cause a rapid decline in the cows’ milk production and conception rates.
These fans can be set to reposition into the loafing pen where the cows spend the night. This nighttime cooling will allow the cows to fully recover before the next day’s heat-stress accumulation begins, increasing milk production and conception.
When the cows are being milked or whenever they are not needed, the system can simply be adjusted to face a vertical position, which will also help keep the fans out of the way of tractors and other machinery.
“When you are looking at any pieces of equipment that you are going to buy, you want the best value and the best equipment to do the job,” says Nick Vanderwey, one of the partners at Grand View Dairy. “This fan system is the best cooling and the best cooling per dollar that you are going to spend.”
Other factors that Vanderwey and Kuiper acknowledge are the system’s ease of installation and low-maintenance requirements.
If you are deciding whether to invest in a new ventilation system on your operation, consider how cost-effective your current system is and whether or not your summer milk production and conception rates have room for improvement. If you think they do, then this technology may be worth looking at.
Although this FlipFan Dairy Cooling System is specially targeted for the southwestern region of the U.S., Schaefer will also continue to provide innovative ventilation solutions designed for your geographical region.
Click here to read the full article regarding Schaefer's FlipFan Dairy Cooling System in Issue 18 of Progressive Dairyman, due in mailboxes December 11, 2010.