Automated and mechanized systems have long become an integral part of successful dairy farms. They allow you to get more milk with less money and labor. But modern approaches will bring maximum efficiency only in the case of placing a large number of animals in one room. That is why a loose-boxed system of keeping cows, which is introduced on the dairy farms of “Kusto Agro”, has become widespread.

Methods of keeping cows

In our country, two methods of keeping cows have been distributed: tethered and free-stall. The first technology already outlives itself – it isn’t efficient and high-performance.

On dairy farms, one of the most labor-intensive operations has always been the milking of cows. This work accounted for about 90% of the total time spent. The introduction of free-stall technology will significantly improve this indicator.

The approach is divided into two more subspecies: free-stall on a deep litter and free-stall barns type. The latter is considered to be the most effective today, as it provides favorable conditions for individual feeding and keeping each cow, given its physiological characteristics. Therefore modern farms carry out the reconstruction of old barns or build new buildings of lightweight construction. Not an exception and our company.

The advantages of free-stall barns technology

With the free-stall barns method, the cowshed is divided by the central aft passage – the stern table, and on each side of it are boxes for animals, as well as areas for feed, manure and drinkers.

In the middle of the room is a technological corridor for the movement of cows in the milking parlor. Particular attention should be paid to the surface coating device. Floor shouldn’t be slippery for animals.

This method involves keeping the animals in the room throughout the year. Effective use of the area, low cost, low labor costs per unit volume of milk received and reduced feed costs due to better design of the feed table are the advantages that led to the widespread introduction of this very method of keeping animals on dairy farms.

The importance of proper organization of work

With free-stall barns keeping of cows, it is important to mechanize work that requires considerable labor resources. First of all, it is necessary to properly design the milking parlors and equip them with modern equipment. It is also necessary to install an appropriate device for transportation and primary processing of milk. These measures will allow organizing the work properly and providing the farm with maximum efficiency.

The number of cows placed in sections is determined taking into account the size of the building and the productivity of the animals. Don’t mix groups and transfer individual cows to other sections. It is advisable to keep groups in an unchanged state for at least 6-8 months. This is done in order not to cause additional conflicts between animals – they can negatively affect milk production. It is also desirable to keep the first lactation cows separate from the main herd, if they have not been in it before.

For 130-200 heads 8-12 milking places should be equipped. Duration of milking – no more than two hours. It is necessary to take into account the individual characteristics of cows, but the stay of each animal in the parlor should not exceed 10-15 minutes. In addition, cows can be given a certain proportion of concentrated feeds – this will contribute to the emergence of a positive conditioned reflex when leaving the milking parlor.

What other points need to be considered

Particular attention should be paid to the boxes – these are the places where the animals rest. It is important that the size of animals be taken into account when designing them. The depth of the boxes should allow the cow to lie freely, and the width – to turn.

For the construction of boxes can be used wood, metal, it is allowed and combined use of materials.

Also, constant provision with feed is required, since under such a system of containment, insufficient food can cause stress in animals, which in turn will reduce milk yields.

The transition to free-stall keeping of cattle isn’t an easy task and requires careful preparation. After all, an incorrect implementation of the system may not bring the expected results, and sometimes lead to losses. But if everything is done correctly, this will reduce the labor costs by 35-38% and increase the yield.