Cows and farmers keep cool

By Rodney Woods

‘‘Milk earlier and milk later.’’

That’s the motto of Katandra dairy farmer Nick Minogue during the sweltering conditions that hit the region last week.

‘‘We try and be finished by seven in the morning and have them (the cattle) fed as soon as possible,’’ Mr Minogue said.

‘‘We start (milking) 20 minutes earlier in the morning and 40 minutes later at night.’’

Mr Minogue, who works for his parents John and Ann-Maree, also explained how important the sprinklers were in keeping the 190 Holsteins comfortable as they head into the dairy to be milked.

‘‘The sprinklers come on and off,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s a certain time they are on and off for. The idea is to not get them too wet because we don’t want wet udders and the evaporative cooling effect works better on them.’’

Although the sprinklers help to some degree, Mr Minogue said production suffered while temperatures remained high.

‘‘Production always drops a couple of litres.

‘‘It stresses some and they don’t want to move and they are slower.

‘‘You’ve got to be patient with them.’’

After milking, Mr Minogue said it was important to get the cows to shade and where food and water was readily available.

‘‘We get them to shade as soon as we can and let them stay there until the end of the day.

‘‘We try and get them on the bigger troughs so water is not limiting.’’

Mr Minogue’s priority for himself, as it is for his cows, is to keep as cool as possible.

‘‘I get sick of the heat after a while,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m more focused on getting home than standing out there (under the sprinklers).

‘‘We look for cooler jobs in the tractors with airconditioning.

‘‘We’re normally inside if we have no jobs in the afternoon.’’