Colby farm uses technology in large operation to keep livestock cool during hot days

COBLY, Wis. (WSAW) -- To say the Heeg Brothers Dairy farm runs like a well-oiled machine, may be an understatement.

"We use a lot of technology to try to keep the environment as comfortable as possible for the cows," said dairy manger of Heeg Brothers Dairy, LLC, Jay Heeg.

It certainly takes a lot of technology to keep his 1,120 milking cows and 1,000 heifers cool in hot, humid days.

"We have fans on one end of the barn, and they pull air coming in from the other end, pulls air through the building, and it goes about five to six miles per hour," Heeg explained.

Along with that tunnel ventilation, there are also fans that blow down over the cows and sprinklers above the feed alley that are run by a thermostat and timer. Heeg said it's the perfect controlled environment.

"They'll come on at, I think, 77 degrees, every eight minutes, and then if it gets above 81, they'll come on every 6 minutes," Heeg added.

The fans are also on a timer, and are duel-purpose. The air flow keeps the flies away, so the cows don't crowd together from stress.

But it's not soley for the comfort of the livestock. It helps the farm's bottom line too.

"When cows start getting too warm, they'll start eating less, so then production could drop down," Heeg explained. "So we monitor how much their intakes are, how much their eating every day. "

A dietitian also comes in to makes sure the cows are getting the proper nutrition.

"If that starts decreasing, we'll re-balance the diet to meet all of her needs, vitamins and minerals," Heeg added.

All in all, the whole process keeps the cows happy and the production moving.