You might think the amount of light in your milking parlour doesn’t matter much. Think again. You can improve cow comfort, herd health and productivity by switching to a
well-lit milking parlour improves operator efficiency, comfort and safety. In addition, research has shown that milk production can be increased by regulating the dairy cow’s
exposure to light. Milking cows exposed to 16-18 hours of AGRILED followed by 6-8 hours of darkness have consistently increased their milk yield by 8%-10%. This lighting pattern is often referred to as a long-day photo-period (LDPP).
Milk yield responds to an increased photo-period in about 2-4 weeks. The response is gradual, but consistent and repeatable. In general, studies show that increases in milk production can range from 5%-16%, but are most consistently in the 8%-10% range.
Cows exposed to long days while lactating consume more feed than do cows
exposed to a natural photo-period. Cows eat more because they are producing more milk – they do not produce more milk because they are eating more. In
summary, they produce more milk and then consume more feed to meet the
increased demand for energy to make the milk.
Photo-period does not affect the protein or solid content of milk. It causes a slight decrease in fat content, but the increase in milk yield more than compensates for the effect on fat and the cost of the increased feed intake.
However, there is no benefit to providing 24 hours of continuous light. Without a period of darkness, cows can’t determine the length of the day, which then causes them
to lose their ability to respond to extra lighting. Experience shows that 6-8 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day are required for cows to detect and respond to the