Short communication: Effect of cross ventilation with or without evaporative pads on core body temperature and resting time of lactating cows

J. F. Smith, B. J. Bradford, J. P. Harner, J. C. Potts, J. D. Allen, M. W. Overton, X. A. Ortiz, Robert J Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


A trial was performed to assess the effect of evaporative pads on core body temperature (CBT) and lying behavior of lactating Holstein cows housed in cross-ventilated freestall facilities in a humid environment. This trial was undertaken in 2 barns equipped with (EP) or without (NP) evaporative pads. Each facility had 4 pens, 1 baffle/pen, and a nominal width of 122 m. Stocking density was higher (123.4 vs. 113.1%) and freestalls were slightly shorter (2.3 vs. 2.4 m) and narrower (1.16 vs. 1.21 m) in EP compared with NP barns. In each pen, lying behavior of 20 cows was monitored using electronic data loggers that recorded at 1-min intervals. A subset (n = 14) of these cows within each pen were also fitted with temperature loggers attached to blank controlled intravaginal drug release devices to determine CBT every 5 min. Ambient conditions were collected every 15 min. Individual cow lying duration and lying bouts were assessed for each cow, as well as time spent standing and CBT within the following categories: CBT 38.6, >38.9, >39.2, >39.4, and >39.7°C. These variables were analyzed using pen as the experimental unit, with cow and day as additional random effects. The average maximum ambient conditions over the 9 d were 25°C and 78.74% relative humidity. No differences were observed in lying duration and number of lying bouts over the 9-d period, with overall means of 696 ± 31 min/d and 12.6 ± 0.5 bouts/d. The EP cows spent 170 min/d longer with a CBT 39.2°C than did NP cows. Cooling with evaporative pads tended to increase time spent lying with a CBT >8.6°C and lying bouts/d for EP cows versus NP cows. Results from this trial show that even under mild heat stress, evaporative cooling in cross-ventilated facilities can decrease CBT and tended to increase lying time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1495-1500
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016



  • Evaporative cooling
  • Heat stress
  • Lying behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics

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