Light contributes to well-being - not only for humans! Furthermore, or precisely because of this, optimal lighting can increase growth and performance in animals. Dairy farming has already moved away from dark barns for some time. Highintensity-discharge-lamps and LED lighting are becoming more common, and the number of light areas in the roof is increasing - but because of the danger of heating up in summer, these daylight areas should be installed in the gable rather than on the sunny side of the roof! It is also true that LED lamps emit hardly any heat. LED floodlights should be used for installation heights above 3.5 m and LED linear luminaires for installation heights below 3.5 m. Suspending the luminaires, but also regular cleaning of the lamps, improves the illumination in the animal area.
But what about fattening animals? Here, too, optimized lighting can make a big difference. The advantages of good lighting in the barn are better, simplified animal control and higher weight gain. The colour of the light can be used to influence the relaxation or activity of the animals. The recommendations state that a 16:8 rhythm is recommended for young cattle and fattening animals (16 hours light and 8 hours dark) to optimise performance. There are also no specifications for light intensity; however, for dairy cows 100 - 200 lux are recommended for the light phase and 0.5 lux for the dark phase. The colour temperature should be selected so that it corresponds to daylight (5,000 to 5,400 Kelvin). A rule of thumb for the power to be installed is 10 watts per square metre.
The argument that better lighting of the barn is too expensive can be quickly refuted, because with modern technology such as LED lamps, the energy costs for barn lighting have fallen sharply. Additional costs can also be offset by higher gains and faster detection of sick animals.
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This innovation has an impact on:
- Socio-economic resilience: More light increases the costs, this can be balanced by increased weight gain.
- Animal health and welfare: Animal welfare increases with a better (more natural) light surrounding. Due to easier animal inspection animal health will improve as well.
- Production efficiency and meat quality: The innovation increased ADG