Advantages of high levels of light
- Milk production can increase by 6% to 14% if the days are lengthened and supplemented at a light level equal to daylight;
- The cows are more active and fertile for extended periods when exposed to longer days;
- Cattle with fertile periods that return faster, can lead to reduced calving index;
Light intensity, daylight hours and the colour of light all influence animal behaviour. The correct balance of these three factors have a positive effect on the livestock. Research has shown that this combination makes a substantial, positive contribution to the health, welfare and productivity of your herd.
Probably the most well known phenomenon concerning lighting is that it controls hormone management in dairy cattle and so has a positive influence on milk production. Less well known advantages of managed lighting is longer, stronger heats resulting in better heat detection and reduced calving intervals, and the fact that illnesses can be spotted earlier.
Having between 16-18 hours of light at an average of 180-200 lux with a minimum light level of 150 lux within the building, and darkness for the remaining 6-8 hours will provide the positive benefits mentioned.
During the hours of darkness a monochromatic red light or dimming is used to allow the herdsman to carry out his rounds and observe the cattle. The red light or dimmed light has no effect on the cows metabolism or sleep pattern.
This light regime is good for both lactating cows and young stock. In contrast to this, dry cows get greater benefits from a regime that is the reverse of the forementioned with 8 hours of light and 16 hours of darkness. This helps maximise milk yield as the cow moves from one light regime to the other after calving.