As is well known, design and management of barns can significantly affect productivity and welfare of dairy cows. Although guidelines have been defined and are available to technicians and farmers, the effective application of this guidance is not straightforward. The aims of this research were to: i) better understand the characteristics of barns and their management in practical farms in Lombardy; ii) highlight the need for better information and iii) identify deficiencies that must be filled to improve the performances of the herds. Therefore an assessment of the compliance of practical farms with design criteria and management guidelines was conducted on 38 freestall barns in Lombardy (provinces of Milano, Lodi and Cremona). The main structural parameters, layout and management were investigated in relation to animal welfare and herd performances. Each farm was visited twice (in spring and in summer 2016). During the visits, data on cow activity and microclimatic condition also were collected. The results show a relevant number of farms with suboptimal conditions. For example, 20% of the barns had an inadequate number of stalls both for feeding and resting. The availability of drinking troughs was adequate only in 22% of the barns. Also the results on structural aspects highlight some critical points: for instance only 25% of the farms had a roof slope that can be considered optimal for good natural ventilation. The survey highlighted how criteria for the correct design of stalls for dairy cattle in order to ensure animal welfare and sustain the productivity are not always followed, and that many farmers exhibited only limited attention to these aspects affecting cow welfare.

Design and management of dairy cow barns in Lombardy / E. Riva, A. Sandrucci, M. Cattaneo, F. Perazzolo, G. Provolo - In: Biosystems Engineering addressing the human challenges of the 21st century.Ebook. - Bari : Università degli studi di Bari Aldo Moro, 2017. - ISBN 9788866290209. - pp. 390-393 (( Intervento presentato al 11. convegno AIIA tenutosi a Bari nel 2017.

Design and management of dairy cow barns in Lombardy

E. Riva;A. Sandrucci;M. Cattaneo;F. Perazzolo;G. Provolo
2017

Abstract

As is well known, design and management of barns can significantly affect productivity and welfare of dairy cows. Although guidelines have been defined and are available to technicians and farmers, the effective application of this guidance is not straightforward. The aims of this research were to: i) better understand the characteristics of barns and their management in practical farms in Lombardy; ii) highlight the need for better information and iii) identify deficiencies that must be filled to improve the performances of the herds. Therefore an assessment of the compliance of practical farms with design criteria and management guidelines was conducted on 38 freestall barns in Lombardy (provinces of Milano, Lodi and Cremona). The main structural parameters, layout and management were investigated in relation to animal welfare and herd performances. Each farm was visited twice (in spring and in summer 2016). During the visits, data on cow activity and microclimatic condition also were collected. The results show a relevant number of farms with suboptimal conditions. For example, 20% of the barns had an inadequate number of stalls both for feeding and resting. The availability of drinking troughs was adequate only in 22% of the barns. Also the results on structural aspects highlight some critical points: for instance only 25% of the farms had a roof slope that can be considered optimal for good natural ventilation. The survey highlighted how criteria for the correct design of stalls for dairy cattle in order to ensure animal welfare and sustain the productivity are not always followed, and that many farmers exhibited only limited attention to these aspects affecting cow welfare.
barn design; welfare; management
Settore AGR/10 - Costruzioni Rurali e Territorio Agroforestale
Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale
Italian Society of Agricultural Engineering (AIIA)
European Society of Agricultural Engineers (EurAgEng)
Book Part (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/517126
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