During the summer season, the hot temperatures are often hard for cows to bear. When they get too hot, milk is produced in lesser quantities, there is hardly any reproductive activity, and in some cases, the cows can even die. As for the farmers, their income levels also go down significantly. The situation can be improved by utilizing the results of a new study. According to researchers at a reputed engineering university, a new solution has been designed that is a great alternative to the approaches used in the past.
A concept known as conductive cooling is the process of heat transfer initiated by direct contact between two substances that have different surface temperatures. This is the main principle on which the entire solution has been based. Using this, chilled mats have been designed that can be placed underneath the cows. Researchers are hopeful this will keep the cows cool and lead to an increase in milk production and better health of the cow.
As of now, most of the farmers only utilize fans for keeping the cows cool. This is not of much help especially when temperatures are towards the higher range. Factor in global warming, and even more problems can arise.
The mat cooling system requires a proper power source. Tests are being conducted by utilizing waste heat generated from a biogas generator, which is used to provide power. A system has already been designed and implemented at a testing unit set up on a university campus. There were eight cows in all that were kept in a heated room. Four of these were made to stand on conductive cooling mats. The students recorded various measurements such as sweating rates, respiratory rates, body temperatures and the levels of produced milk several times in a day. Water at temperatures in the range between 40 and 50 degrees was used for cooling the mats.
The entire test system was powered by an anaerobic digester. Through natural microbial techniques, the digester converts the cow manure into a biogas such as methane. This can be further used for running an electric generator, which chills water through absorption chillers.
As of now, only 30% of the overall generator energy is utilized and the other is just converted into waste. Now more studies are being made to improve this efficiency.
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