When it’s hot, cows generally don’t get too excited about eating their fill at the bunk. But the owners of Grand View Dairy in Buckeye, Ariz., have designed a cooling system to help overcome that.

They created an automated system where the cow pusher only has to push two separate buttons to set about the desired chain of events. Here’s how it works.

When the cow pusher enters a corral to bring the cows into the barn, he presses a button to shut off the fans and start a timed sequence. Forty minutes later, when the cows begin to exit the barn, the soakers at the manger line turn on. The soakers run for one minute on and then for two minutes off. After 40 minutes of this soaker cycle, the fans and misters under the shades turn on and the soakers shut off. The same cycle is repeated at the late afternoon feeding for an hour and a half. It also can be started at other times when weather warrants. 

In addition to cooling cows at the bunks, the cows also get cooled in the wash pen. When cows enter the wash pen, the employee pushes a button that activates large sprinklers mounted on the walls of the wash pen. If you are going to wet the critical 4 square inches on the cow, you might as well soak the whole animal to help her cool down, says Larry Vanderwey, dairy manager. At a dry 110 F and a 40-minute-per-pen turn time through the parlor, the water is dissipated by the time the cow exits the barn. This step quickly lowers core body temperature and improves fan and mister efficiency — and ultimately cow comfort.