Permanent shade structures over feedpads (or freestalls) can make a
big impact on overall farm productivity.
Shade provided here encourages cows to keep eating.
Permanent shade sheds are an investment that provides excellent
protection from solar radiation – but they must be well designed and
Priorities for cooling cows
1. Use shade first
Minimise heat gain – block solar
Maximise heat loss – encourage
Permanent shade sheds
An effectively designed and built shade shed provides:
- sufficient room for resting and standing
- comfortable, hygienic lying surfaces
- clean, dry surfaces for standing and feed placement
- a safe environment to minimise injury
- smooth, quiet stock movement.
Note that the orientation and roof design of the shade structure
will influence the amount of solar radiation that it can block.
- Fast to set up, but with a long useful life – at least 25 years.
- Doubles as a feedout facility,
- Can be used to protect pastures and prevent soil pugging during
prolonged periods of rainfall.
- Can be used to break the growth cycle of parasites such as cattle
tick and reduce the need for chemicals.
- Can be fitted with evaporative cooling systems such as sprinklers
and fans (see Section 3b).
- Can be converted into a freestall or integrated with loafing pads
if well designed.
- Location on farm is not always ideal for paddock rotation.
- High capital cost to provide shade. Cost depends on amount of
concrete; type of roof, strength of structure required to support roof
and the effluent management system.
- Must have an effective system for handling effluent and run-off,
otherwise cow comfort and production may be compromised.
- Need to comply with regulatory authorities (e.g. local council
building permit for solids roof structures).
Keys to success
- MANAGEMENT IS
the shade structure is located close to the dairy, as staff can monitor
the herd while preparing for milking or post-milking clean-up.
- CONSIDER THE
prevailing winds, radiation from the sun and rainfall. Structures need
to be able to withstand extreme weather conditions.
- DAILY SCRAPING of
feedpad surfaces helps manage the risk of mastitis.
- AN EFFECTIVE system
handling effluent and run-off.