Dairy farmers have known for years that providing supplemental lighting during the shortened daylight of fall and winter will increase milk production and overall profitability. The strategy, which is known as Long-Day lighting, is simple to understand but can be a challenge to implement profitably.
Studies have determined that a dairy herd that receives 16 – 18 hours of light interspersed with 6 – 8 hours of dark can increase milk production anywhere between 5 – 16%! The challenge associated with this strategy is providing the optimum level of light intensity with the most cost and energy efficient light technology.
“The challenge associated with making Long-Day Lighting profitable is providing the optimum level of light intensity with the most cost and energy efficient light technology.”
Fluorescent bulbs can be inexpensive but the low temperatures of winter provide unique challenges and decrease the quality of light. Some dairy farms are sold metal halide lamps or high pressure sodium bulbs which have a high labor and replacement cost associated with them. As most dairy farmers know, changing light bulbs in the high ceilings of a modern day dairy barn is not as simple as dragging out a ladder.
“The energy cost associated with Long-Day lighting has to be considerably less than the income from increased production in order to make it worthwhile and profitable.”
Induction Lighting Uniquely Suited to Dairy Herds
Induction lighting is proving to have a unique advantage in dairy farm operations. The technology has been around for over 100 years but recent innovations have given it new appeal. The biggest advantage is the extremely long life expectancy of an induction light bulb. A typical Induction bulb is rated at 100,000 hours which is 5-7 times longer than metal halide and about 7 times longer than fluorescent.
Several of the reasons The Energy Alliance Group favors induction lighting is that: it’s not affected by extremes in temperature; the bulb lasts an extremely long time; and the quality of the light is as good as bulbs that are double the wattage. A conservative estimate of energy cost savings is 57% over metal halide or high pressure sodium bulbs.
Here’s a great VIDEO that let’s the end user, the dairy farmer, share their experience!
The Energy Alliance Group (EAG) of North America is an energy solutions company providing energy saving products, technologies and services.