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Dairy Barn Air Conditioning Starting To Catch On
Two years ago FARM SHOW featured a story about Tom and Howard Walquist, Belknap, Ill., who equipped their dairy barn with central air conditioning in order to boost milk production in summer (Vol. 20, No. 1).
We recently heard about Wisconsin farmers Bernard and Ellen Killian, who milk 80 cows near Independence, Wis., and who also installed air conditioning in their 36 by 150-ft. dairy barn.
"We got the idea after reading about the Walquists," says Ellen. "We put the air conditioning units in last spring, but didn't start using the system until June 14 because of cooler-than-normal temperatures. Since then, it's been working out well. The hottest it has been in the barn was 78 degrees and that's when the outside temperature was 108."
The system has increased the Killians' monthly electric bill by about $400, but that's more than offset by higher production and other benefits, Ellen says.
"Our cows like it. They fight to get back in the barn when we let them out. Our DHIA test increased, from 27,300 lbs. in June to 27,800 lbs. in July, and all components remained constant," she says. "For example, our butterfat content usually runs around 4.0 percent but drops off in hot weather by as much as 0.4 of a percent. With the price for butterfat currently high, this would normally cost us $70 per day, but we saw no drop at all this summer."
The Killians' system consists of six 5-ton commercial air conditioning units hung on shop-built brackets from the barn roof so they're level with the duct work that was in-stalled. "With air conditioning, every right angle elbow restricts air flow," explains Ellen.
It was purchased from and installed by Bernard's cousin, a licensed refrigeration man in Milwaukee.
The biggest expense in installing the system - $17,000 - came in upgrading the barn's electric transformer and boxes. The air conditioning units were $9,000, the dust work was $5,000, and insulating was $1,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bernard and Ellen Killian, N 37 583 Hunts Valley Lane, Independence, Wis. 54747 (ph 715 985-3351).

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1998 - Volume #22, Issue #5