Is the Greenhouse Stable housing system suitable for modern dairy cattle under Dutch conditions?
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Modern dairy cattle are selected for maximal milk production traits for over the last few decades. With a declining world market price for dairy products and a disappearance of annual production rights in 2015 maximization of production and increasing size of farms are an obvious trend that can be seen. The result of this up growth is that many dairy farms proceed to expansion, renovation or new construction of the dairy barn. The emphasis on genetic predisposition for maximum production has led to the growing and deepening of the modern dairy cows. Therefore, the feed intake and production increased. But the animals by the shifting of the thermoneutral zone also become more sensitive to higher temperatures. This because the animals produce more metabolic heat and this heat can be less well be disposed to the direct environment . These changes have implications for the demands of the modern housing for dairy cattle. One of the companies who are responding to this new demands is IDagro with the concept of the "Greenhouse Stable”. The light steel arch construction that is finished with transparent film and shade cloth is a spacious light stable concept. For ventilation this “Greenhouse stable” relies entirely on cross ventilation. Previous research has shown that for optimum production a threshold light intensity of 200 lx must be met. In addition, the day length is of major importance. In greenhouse barns on overcast days this threshold is not met. Besides light air is also of great importance. In this study there was a marked inhibition on the velocity of the air from outside to inside in the stable. The relative humidity and temperature showed only at the individual farm level abnormalities. The main conclusion is that the “Greenhouse Stabel” proved a useful concept in the winter of 2008. But that for definitive conclusions further research is needed into the ventilation pattern and the direct environment of the animals at high temperatures. This because under dutch climatic conditions there is a high risk for heat stress.