Zoo-hygienic assessment of lighting in semi-open freestall barns for dairy cows

D. Dimov

Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 1 September 2018; accepted for publication 16 January 2019)

Abstract. The aim of the present study was to perform a zoo-hygienic assessment of lighting (natural and artificial) in different technological zones (stalls, manure and feed alleys) in semi-open freestall barns for dairy cows. The survey was conducted over a period of one year in 3 production buildings from 3 cattle farms located in three different areas of Southern Bulgaria – Stara Zagora District, Haskovo District and Plovdiv District. The building’s parameters were as follows: building No.1 – capacity 120 cows, 60.00/18.00/3.00m, 1080m2; building No.2 – capacity 120 cows, 66.00/18.00/3.00m, 1188m2 and building No.3 – capacity 500 cows, 90.00/45.00/3.30m, 4050m2. The premises lighting was measured with two combined apparatuses (Lutron EM-9300SD, 0-20000 lux and PU 150, 0-100000 lux), twice a month at 10.00, 12.00, 14.00, 16.00 and 18.00h at a height of 1m from the floor of the three technology zones. Summarized for all buildings, the light level varies widely by buildings, by seasons, by hours of reporting and by technological zones with limit values between 1 and 9810 lux. In all barns the most intense was the light above the feed alleys, followed by stalls and manure alleys; by hours of reporting during the day the level of lighting above the three technological zones was higher at midday (12.00-14.00h) compared to morning (10.00h) and afternoon (18.00h). Buildings No.1 and No.2 with a smaller built-up area provide more intensive lighting over all technological zones throughout all seasons compared to building No.3 with bigger built-up area: from 7.34 to 13.8 times over stalls, from 3.22 to 5.62 times over manure alleys and from 2.79 to 8.00 times over feed alleys. In buildings No.1 and No.2 there were prerequisites at least 16 hours of day light (photoperiod) to be provided during summer, autumn and spring, while in the winter months up to 8.00am and after 6.00pm the used artificial lighting was with low intensity and cannot provide the recommended over 160 lux intensity of the light. In building No.3 during most of the day for all seasons, the level of lighting above stalls and manure alley where the animals stay the longest time, the lighting level was lower than 160 lux. The factors ‘building’, ‘season’ and ‘hour of the day’ had a statistically significant effect (P<0.05-0.001) on the level of lighting in the three technological zones in the studied buildings. Of the associated factors, only the combination ‘season*hour of reporting’ had no significant effect on the lighting in the zones above the stalls and manure alleys.

Animal hygiene assessment of microclimate in semi open free-stall barns for dairy cows

D. Dimov1*, Tch. Miteva1, I. Marinov2, Zh. Gergovska2, Т. Penev1, A. Enchev3

1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 2Department of Animal Science – Ruminants and Dairy Farming, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 3Enfo Agro LTD, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 2 December 2016; accepted for publication 16 February 2017)

Abstract. The study was conducted in three semi open free-stall barns (B1, B2, and B3) for dairy cows with capacities for 120, 120 and 500 cows, respectively, from three different dairy farms (F-1, F-2 and F-3), situated in Central Southern Bulgaria. The investigated farms had the same production system – loose housing in semi open free-stall dairy barn. For each of the farms the main microclimatic parameters – air temperature, relative humidity and speed of airflow were recorded twice a month at 10.00 h 12.00 h, 14.00 h, 16.00 h and 18.00 h of the day inside the barns in three main technological zones – above the stalls, above manure and feed alleys and outside the buildings. It was found that: a) Microclimatic parameters (air temperature, air relative humidity and speed of airflow) in technological zones (above the stalls, the manure and feed alleys) of three semi open free-stall dairy barns meet the animal hygienic requirements for all seasons according to Regulation No. 44 (2006). Exceptions are some values of relative humidity in B1 and B2 in the spring, and in B1 in winter and summer, which are lower than the minimum humidity (50%) according to the standard. b) The investigated barns are characterized with poor insulation and do not provide enough isolation from the external ambient temperatures. With the exception of winter, the temperature of the air inside the buildings was lower than that outside, with minor differences for all seasons. The fans in the barns have no effect on the inside air temperature, especially in summer. There was a risk of higher temperatures mainly during the summer period. c) There is no significant difference between the average temperatures, air humidity and speed of airflow in all technological zones of the investigated barns. d) The largest and statistically significant is the difference between the relative air humidity outside and inside the building in Farm 3, followed by buildings in Farm 1 and 2, where the differences are smaller and statistically insignificant. e) Factor analysis revealed a significant effect: of the farm on temperature in the different technological zones in the barns (P <0.05-0.01); of the farm in the zones of manure and feed alleys (P <0.001) and less effect in the zone of stalls (P <0.05) on speed of airflow, the factor season on speed of airflow in all zones (P <0.001), the time of recording in the zone of manure alley on speed of airflow (P <0.05); the farm, season and time of recording on the humidity in the three technological zones (P <0.001).

Agro-ecological assessment of manure from different farm animals by content of biogenic elements

D. Dermendzhieva1*, G. Kostadinova1, G. Petkov1, D. Dimov1, T. Dinev2, T. Penev1, Tch. Miteva1, J. Mitev1

1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria 2Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Physics, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

(Manuscript received 12 November 2016; accepted for publication 23 January 2017)

Abstract. The aim of the present study was to investigate and to make agro-ecological assessment of fresh (excreted up to 24 h) and stored (for 6 months) manure from different farm animals (dairy cows, pigs, laying hens and turkeys) by biogenic elements content (N, P, K) for a period of one year. Samples of fresh and stored manure were collected and analyzed monthly for total N, total P and total K content. It was found that: a) biogenic elements in fresh and stored manure decreased in the following gradation by average values for the studies period: turkeys – total N (13.9 – 9.16 g/kg DM), total P (9.94 – 8.67 g/kg DM) and total K (5.02 – 3.74 g/kg DM); laying hens – total N (13.6-9.95 g/kg DM), total P (9.27- 7.94 g/kg DM) and total K (5.56 – 4.60 g/kg DM); pigs – total N (8.30 -6.77 g/kg DM), total P (6.08-4.65 g/kg DM) and total K (3.56 – 1.61 g/kg DM); dairy cows – total N (5.62 -4.76 g/kg DM), total P (1.72 – 1.48 g/kg DM) and total K (2.99 – 1.72 g/kg DM); b) the change in nutrients content of different types of manures by seasons both in fresh and in stored manure are divergent; c) coefficients of variation values determined surveyed manures by content of nutrients from minor to significant variable (Cv = 9.30-37.5%); d) during the storage of the tested manures nutrient losses are the greatest for potassium (17.3-54.8%), followed by nitrogen (15.3-34.1%) and phosphorus (12.8-23.5%); e) the average losses of biogenic elements in manure by kind of animal species are in varying degrees: dairy cows (total N 15.3%, total P 14.0%, total K 42.5%); pigs (total N 18.4%, total P 23.5%, total K 54.8%); laying hens (total N 26.8%, total P 14.3%, total K 17.3%) and turkeys (total N 34.1%, total P 12.8%, total K 25.5%); f) the ratio between nutrients (N:P:K), both in fresh and in stored manure from different animal species vary in relatively wide limits both by seasons (12.6%N:18.1%P:56.3%K – 41.5%N:16.0%P:39.7%K) and by average of the studied period (15.3%N:14.0%P:42.5%K – 34.1%N:12.8%P:25.5%K).

Influence of the farm construction, farm regimen and season on the comfort indices of dairy cows

D. Dimov1*, Ch. Miteva1, Zh. Gergovska2

1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. 2Department of Animal Science – Ruminants and Dairy Farming, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria.

Abstract. The study was conducted at 3 cattle farms within three regions of Southern Bulgaria – Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Plovdiv. At all three farms, rearing of the cows was in free groups with individual rest cubicles in within a semi-open building. The daily regimen was different. At the three farms, the separate technological elements of the cubicles were different with the exception of the neck rail height, which was the same – 120 cm. The cubicle flooring was also different (2.14 m2, 2.31 m2 and 2.37 m2), as well as the bedding usage (straw mixed with composted manure, rubber mat and straw + composted manure). There was a significant influence of the farm and the season on the three comfort indices of cows (cow comfort index (CCI), stall usage index (CUI), stall standing index (SSI)). A significant effect of the hour of measurement was found only in the SUI. The small distance between the front of the cubicle and the neck rail (21 cm), and between the rear of the cubicle and the neck rail (140 cm) led to lower values of CCI (65.46% and 66.37%) and SUI (44.51% and 37.46%), as well as high values of SSI (17.52% and 13.35%). The type of the used bedding also had an influence – these indices had the highest values when the bedding was straw mixed with composted manure, instead of a rubber mat. The larger distance from the neck rail to the front of the cubicle (65 cm), the optimal distance from the neck rail to the rear of the cubicle (150 cm) and a soft bedding of straw mixed with composted manure provided better comfort to the cows, respectively CCI – 78.43%, SUI – 54.34% and SSI – 9.83%. Season had a significant influence on the values of the comfort indices, with lower values of CCI and SUI and higher values of SSI in the summer months, compared to the autumn. The feeding regimen and the milkings number also affected the comfort indices of dairy cows. Their evaluation must be conducted in accordance with the specific farm’s regimen.

odbutton

Effect of cubicle technological parameters on welfare and comfort of dairy cows

D. Dimov*

Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Abstract. The welfare and comfort of dairy cows is of particular importance and therefore, would become an issue of increasing interest for dairy farmers. A number of studies established that better comfort of cows results in higher milk yields. The impact of technological parameters of cubicles on cows’ comfort and welfare is considerable. The mechanism of influence of cubicle’s parameters on the comfort and welfare of cows is still disputable. This requires more detailed studies in order to provide the necessary level of comfort and hence, better economic parameters of farms.

odbutton6

Effect of season, lactation period and number of lactation on mastitis incidence and milk yields in dairy cows

T. Penev1*, Zh. Gergovska2, I. Marinov2, V. Kirov3, K. Stankov4, Y. Mitev1, Ch. Miteva1
1Department of Applied Ecology and Animal Hygiene, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
2Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Trakia University, 6000, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
3Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria
4Department of Management, Faculty of Economics, Trakia University, 6000, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Abstract. The aim of the present study was to study the effect of the season, period and number of lactation on mastitis incidence and milk yields in dairy cows. The climate in Bulgaria implies the presence of seasonal variations in mastitis prevalence in dairy cows, reared in free-stall barns all the year round: spring – 5.33%, summer – 4.9%, autumn – 4.2% and winter – 4.5%. The mastitis incidence during the lactation periods increased gradually from calving to the 120th lactation day. For the first 120 days of lactation, the mastitis incidence attained 26%. The reduction in milk yields after the lactation peak was associated with gradual decliine in cows affected by mastitis to 1.7% during the last month of lactation. With increasing the number of lactations, mastitis incidence also increased: 23.3% in 1st lactation cows, 26.7% in 2nd lactation cows, 48.9% in 3rd lactation cows and 43.3% in cows in fourth or subsequent lactation. The highest daily milk yield at the peak of lactation (34.05 kg) was established in cows affected by mastitis after the 180th lactation day, followed by cows with mastitis between the 60th and 180th lactation days (32.54 kg), and third came healthy cows (31.98 kg). The lowest daily milk yield at the peak of lactation was demonstrated in cows affected by mastitis in the first 60 days of the lactation (29.39 kg). It was proved that cows with exceptionally high milk yields in the beginning of lactation were more prone to mastitis at a later stage due to weakened systemic resistance and consequent disease. Cows with relatively lower milk yield during the lactation period (7580.3 kg) were more resistant to environmental factors, therefore were not affected by mastitis and produced highquality milk with lower costs vs those with highest milk yields affected by mastitis after the 180th day. These cows produced more milk (7607.9 kg) within a 305- day lactation, but the treatment costs could be hardly compensated. Cows in which mastitis occurred until the 60th and between the 60th and 180th lactation day, produced 7215.5 and 7484.1 kg milk, respectively. The average milk yield per lactation of healthy cows was by 137.83 kg higher than that of cows with mastitis. A statistically significant reduction in milk fat (Р < 0.05) and milk protein (Р < 0.001) between healthy and diseased cows was observed.

odbutton

Changes in the hindleg conformation and their relation to lameness, production system and lactation number in dairy cows

Tch. Miteva, T. Penev, Zh. Gergovska, J. Mitev, N.Vasilev, V. Dimova

Abstract. The study was performed at three dairy cattle farms from three districts in the country: Plovdiv, Bourgas, and Veliko Tarnovo. The cows housed at all three farms were of the Holstein-Friesian breed. A total of 150 cows were included, 50 from each farm. The rearing at the three farms was free with differences in some technological details. The following traits were recorded: hindleg conformation score examined from behind (HLCS), lameness score (LS), body condition score (BCS) of the cows. It has been established that by increasing the age (lactation number), the mean hindleg conformation score increased, respectively from 1.22 at the 1st to 2.29 at the 4th or following lactations. The cows with normal hindleg conformation (HLCS 1) had a mean lameness score of 1.13, which indicated that they did not have any major locomotory problems. The cows with the most considerable hoof overgrowth and change in the leg conformation score (HLCS 3) had the highest lameness score (2.33). The cows without locomotory problems (LS 1) had the highest mean BCS (2.54) compared to those with varying degrees of lameness. The cows with LS 3 had the lowest BCS (1.90). There was a tendency towards a lower extent of fattening in cows with locomotory problems. There were no significant differences in the mean values of HLCS and LS between the three farms, yet there was a difference in the percentages of cows with different scores. The causes can be found in the technological differences of rearing, feeding, etc.

odbutton

Lameness scoring systems for cattle in dairy farms

T. Penev
Abstract. Dairy cow locomotion and its correct interpretation are extremely important for assessment of normal locomotion and lameness. In the literature, cattle lameness is often described as deviation from the normal locomotion due to pain or discomfort in the region of feet and hooves. A major part of the existing locomotion scoring systems are based upon identification of changes in normal locomotion, but sometimes, the interpretation of these changes is difficult when described in the best possible way. The existing risk related to the correct evaluation predetermines the development of scoring systems for clinical lameness. Many systems are used to score the locomotion of both healthy and diseased cows. The natural stance of cows could also mislead researchers and farmers during the evaluation. Pathological deviations in the region of feet and hooves are not always related to visible alterations in cows’ behaviour. Very often, hoof pathology without clinical manifestation could be observed. The intensive mechanisation of cattle husbandry and the reduced contact between animals and men further contribute to the increased incidence of wrong evaluation and flaws in cattle lameness recognition, especially in the early stages. This fact has encouraged attempts for creating accurate practical locomotion scoring systems that could assist in detection of all deviations from normal locomotion in dairy cows.

odbutton

Behaviour of cows in milking parlour

I. Varlyakov, V. Radev, Т. Slavov, N. Grigorova

Abstract. Milking behaviour of 102 dairy, cows (Brown cattle breed – imported from Austria) was studied by computer monitoring system in 3 periods: Period 1(P1) – 60 days after the group formation, Period 2 (P2) – 120 days after P1 and Period 3 (P3) – 120 days after P2. An entrance order in the milking parlour was established, that is preserved over the lactation. Kendall coefficients ranged between 0.373–0.421 (P<0.001), increasing with time after forming the group. The entrance order for milking was mostly influenced by the stage of lactation (r=+0.330, P<0.001) and at the least extent – by the daily milk production (r=0.398, P<0.001). A preference towards the milking side was observed in more than half of cows (50.2%). Their share increase as followed: 40.5% P1, 42.1% P2, and 68.1% – P3. In a herd of 100 cows, three groups are formed with respect to the entrance order for milking: 16% that tended to enter first, 18-25% that are always the last, and the largest, ‘tolerant” group of 50-66%. Highly productive cows are never the majority among those that are first or last to enter for milking.

odbutton