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Micro-climate Measurements in the Palm of your Hand


When it comes to heat stress abatement in your cattle operation, one size does not fit all. What works well at one location may not have the same results at another. Whether you are developing a heat stress management plan or managing and evaluating an existing one, your success will rely in part on understanding micro-climates in your facility.

By definition, a micro-climate is a local zone where the climate differs from the surrounding area. Micro-climates exist within a barn, a field, and even a single pen. Temperature alone is not enough to characterize the animal’s micro-environment. This is never more evident than comparing a 90°F dry, desert day in Arizona to a humid, muggy, 90°F day in Florida; it doesn’t feel the same and it shouldn’t be managed the same!

Understanding humidity is crucial because the higher its level, the less efficient evaporative cooling measures such as sprinklers and misters become. Evaporative cooling measures add moisture to the air and raise the relative humidity. If implemented during periods of high relative humidity, the cooling effect is lost. The Temperature-Humidity Index (THI), an established measurement used to monitor the effect of the environment on dairy cattle and give an estimate of heat stress risk, includes both ambient temperature and relative humidity in its calculation.

Previously, obtaining local micro-climate THI measurements has not been easy. To assist farmers in easily identifying and recording THI, Kestrel Weather Instruments recently launched a product line of meters and loggers specifically geared towards agriculture which offer built-in THI readout. The Kestrel Agriculture product line is particularly suited to monitoring cattle and livestock heat stress but offers many other measurements useful to the farm or ranch professional. Below are just a few use cases shared by Kestrel customers highlighting the versatility and value of this product line:


  • A Pennsylvania dairy just completed a new barn build in spring 2016. The new facility is naturally ventilated with curtain side walls. Supplemental cooling measures include HVLS fans installed over both the feed bunk and freestall areas. The dairyman decided not to include sprinklers or misters; instead, he will use Kestrel DROP D2AG Agricultural Data Loggers to monitor and record THI measurements within the freestall area, holding pen, feed bunk, and milking parlor. This dairyman wants to assess if natural ventilation and fans provide sufficient cooling for his herd. He is planning to monitor his barn micro-environments and compare feed intake and yield to assess additional cow cooling options if needed. (THI is available in all Kestrel Ag line meters)
  • Another East coast dairy wanted to understand micro-climates in their barn. The dairyman wanted to locate dead spots, quantify livestock level air speed for confirmation of Effective Cow Velocity (ECV), and confirm the effectiveness of the fans and sprinklers automatically operated during evenings and nighttime periods when THI exceeded 68. Using a Kestrel 5000AG Livestock Environmental Meter, he is able to modify fan direction, fan speed, and better manage his cow cooling efforts.
  • Dr. Scott Tripp, DVM, DHI Provo, shared his philosophy on using Kestrel meters to gather environmental data to support heat stress management efforts: “To manage you must be able to monitor. Certainly you need to know when to start misters or fans. I like using feed monitoring programs like EZ Feed to see the day to day fluctuations in intake and weather. So overall it’s about getting cows to eat one more bite. I usually ask the question when are your cows the coolest? Do you have night cooling in the area?  What is the overall heat load the cows are experiencing?  Are there dead spots in the barns causing cows to not lie down or congregate? Are there wet spots causing cows to lie in the alley? If we cannot answer these questions we start using the Kestrel to get to the facts.”
  • Another customer acquired a Kestrel 5000AG to use in assessing the environment in his dry cow housing. Protection from cold conditions was not a concern, but this customer shared that he wanted hard data to support a decision to invest in heat remediation measures for this cow grouping. He knew that recent research indicates heat stress risk affects both cow and calf future milk yield, but he wanted to test the exact effects at his facility. Following the FARM Animal Care Program, this dairyman plans to use his multi-purpose Kestrel 5000AG to log THI and also confirm that his fans provide air speeds of 200-400 ft. per minute to determine if he needs to implement additional heat stress management measures.


  • Calf health is complex and depends on many factors. Calf hutches are a great example of the smallest of microclimates – exposure to wind and sun can vary from hutch to hutch and result in very different conditions. One dairy purchased a Kestrel 5500AG, recognizing that its small size, portability and on the spot readings make it perfect for assessing each calf’s microenvironment inside the hutch. This customer was able to use the wind speed, direction and wind chill measurements to quantify cold conditions and adjust for greater animal comfort using deep bedding and ensuring hutches were facing away from prevailing winds. THI was monitored during summer months for feeding ration changes. Wind speed and direction were recorded to confirm hutch location faced prevailing winds to aid in heat stress management. In addition, THI will be logged throughout the summer season to determine if additional mitigation measures such as shade installation are needed. With the help of their Kestrel 5500AG, they expect to be able to reduce antibiotic use, maximize calf growth and development, and follow DCHA Gold Standards.

University Studies

  • The Dairyland Initiative, University of Wisconsin, is using Kestrel Ag meters in conjunction with a series of sensors "to evaluate various ventilation systems used for dairy cattle. A good ventilation system must not only exhaust stale air, but also provide fast moving air in the animal's resting zones and have a way to transition between the summer and winter climates. Evaluating the cow's pen using temperature, humidity, and airspeed measurements will allow us to compare the barn's ventilation design against the micro-environment the cow is actually experiencing. The goal is to better characterize the animal micro-environment using more than just temperature." Additional thoughts on usage include "Many ventilation systems are designed for a specific air speed. The Kestrel can help measure and ensure the design is performing as intended. Alternatively, winter design for calf ventilation must provide a good air exchange but limit wind chill; the unit can be used to check that calves are not under a breeze because the unit's lowest range matches quite well with the values drafts are typically defined for calves." Mario Mondaca, PhD, Research Associate, The Dairyland Initiative.

Spraying Compliance

  • Many crop spray applications require monitoring and recording weather conditions from the field. One Missouri farmer shared using the Kestrel 5500AG to “log and record field-specific environmental measurements such as Delta T, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction to more effectively manage spray drift (specifically in reference to dicamba-based products.) The Kestrel measurements are exactly what I need to meet both label and drift reduction requirements” Mike Schroeder, crop producer, Missouri.

Beef Operations

  • For cattle in open lot conditions, THI alone may not sufficiently indicate the level of heat load experienced by the animal. Heat Load Index (HLI) and Accumulated Heat Load Units (AHLU) are more complete measurement models that include not only temperature and relative humidity, but also the additional parameters of solar radiation and wind speed. Two large beef finishing operations used the Kestrel 5400AG to monitor and record THI, HLI and AHLU to better understand current herd’s heat load and risk. During high and extreme risk conditions, wet manure was removed, additional water troughs were added, heat load rations were implemented, and processing/handling were rescheduled.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which understanding the significant microclimatic variations possible in different cattle areas and individual pens, and how those condition differ from the farm weather report, can result in greatly improved yield and productivity with less cost due to fine-tuning of equipment and measures designed to improve the cattle’s environment. With the summer season bringing the threat of heat stress, producers have more tools than ever available to provide the vital information required to make informed, data-backed decisions to better manage their herd’s overall health, productivity and profit.

For more information about cattle heat stress, please visit


ADM Animal NutritionTM Launches MycoLogicTM Feed Manager App


ADM Animal Nutrition™, a division of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM), announced today the launch of a new digital sales tool, the MycoLogic™ Feed Manager app.

Developed exclusively for ADM Animal Nutrition, MycoLogic Feed Manager is an iPad app designed to help ADM sales representatives effectively evaluate the nutritional needs of their customers’ livestock through a quick and thorough digital assessment.

The assessment begins with a brief in-app questionnaire which ADM representatives can walk through one-on-one with customers. The multi-question audit uses a decision tree algorithm to analyze the individual nutritional needs of each farm, deduce which, if any, naturally occurring toxins may be present in the region, and generate a recommendation specific to the environment, location, and on-farm challenges of that customer.

In addition, the MycoLogic Feed Manager app provides ADM representatives with easy access to a library of research, product brochures, and presentations to educate customers on ADM’s portfolio of nutritional offerings.

For more information on the MycoLogic™ Feed Manager app contact ADM Animal Nutrition at 800-775-3295, [email protected], or visit

For more information about ADM Animal Nutrition visit

MycoLogic and ADM Animal Nutrition are trademarks of Archer Daniels Midland Company.


Accurate Moisture Sensing Critical to Hay Quality

 Knowing the moisture content of the hay crop during the baling process is a significant factor in the longer term quality of the hay.  If the crop entering the baler is too dry, shattering leaf loss will reduce hay quality.  If the moisture level is too high, heat from fermentation and resulting mold will cause deterioration of the hay’s nutritive value, smell, appearance and palatability for livestock consumption.  Hay that becomes spoiled will cause production loss and may result in a health risk to cattle.

When hay is baled with a preservative application system installed on the baler, hay quality is maintained, and its value enhanced, whether it is to be sold or fed.  Applying the correct amount of preservative guarantees the best opportunity for maintaining peak hay quality during storage.  For the greatest success, accurate moisture sensing becomes a critical factor in the preservative application system.

Harvest Tec, recognized for its expertise in moisture sensing technology, is now introducing Microwave Moisture Sensors for large square balers.  There are two mounting options for the sensors; for producers who are using the Staheli West DewPoint™ steamer, two sensors are mounted on the back of the chamber for accurate readings of the artificial moisture.

For producers using preservative applicators, sensors are installed in the baler’s compression chamber and get an early reading of the moisture content as it enters the baler, physically closer to the preservative applicator’s spray shield which shortens any lag time between sensing and applying.  These sensors read moisture across the chamber instantaneously as the flake moves past, and the reading accuracy is +/- 1 point of actual moisture. The new microwave kits are available on new applicator systems, and are also available as an upgrade option to several previous systems.  Microwave sensors located on the baler give the operator instant, accurate, and reliable moisture readings on the go.

Moisture readings can be displayed through the baler ISOBUS on the VT display, or on the operator’s iPad, wireless via a Bluetooth receiver.

The microwave system is an addition to the star wheel sensors on the applicator, and the operator can alternate between the two, depending on the preference.  The new technology is completely compatible with other precision hay harvesting systems including the Moisture Dye Marker, RFV Calculator System, RFV Dye Marker and the RFID Tagger, all developed by Harvest Tec and available through major brand baler dealers.

For more information, visit or call (800) 635-7468.


New DeLaval Calf Feeder Puts the Future of Your Farm at Your Fingertips

The CF1000S model monitors animals and machines remotely with CalfApp

DeLaval recently launched a new calf feeder – DeLaval calf feeder CF1000S. This latest model features remote connectivity which allows calf raisers to access information about their calves’ feeding habits and plans from a smart device, such as a phone or tablet. Automatic calf feeding has been praised in research from leading universities for its “intensive” calf feeding capabilities, helping increase calves’ daily rations and intake frequency.

“The benefits of automated calf feeding – increased milk yields, lower mortality rates, and lower replacement costs – have been widely studied and accepted within the industry,” says Gavin Strang, DeLaval Market Development and Sales Support Manager for Capital Equipment. “However, feeding calves robotically also includes advantages for the producer, like the conversion of higher value labor, and now with CalfApp, the ability to monitor calf data and service the machines remotely.”

The Dairy Calf and Heifer Association recommends calves double their birth weight in the first 60 days to ensure lifetime health and productive milk yields. DeLaval calf feeder CF1000S helps producers achieve this target growth rate by taking the guesswork out of feeding. DeLaval’s exclusive calf feeder software accommodates each calf’s unique feeding pattern by allowing her to carry over the remaining ration from the previous day.

DeLaval understands that success in automated calf feeding is a team effort, which is why the company requires its dealers to be certified before they install the machines. Furthermore, these dealers are supported by a large network of DeLaval veterinarians, nutritionists and calf health experts to help farms achieve maximum results.

The CalfApp is free for iOS and Android users and can be downloaded here:!calfApp


GENEX markets cow calcium supplement unlike any other

GENEX now offers a calcium bolus, RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement, to help make calcium supplementation in cows easier.

RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is a uniquely formulated bolus product used to promote calcium levels in cows. It features 100 grams of calcium, a mixture between calcium chloride for immediate release and a naturally found combination of seaweed-derived calcium and magnesium oxide for a long-lasting sustained release. RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement also contains vitamin D to maximize absorption and utilization of calcium during the first 24 hours after calving and in other times associated with low calcium levels.

“This calcium supplement is what GENEX members have been asking for. The boluses are missile-shaped and have a smooth coating so both Jersey and Holstein cows can easily swallow them,” states GENEX Resale Product Manager Bob East.

“Unlike other calcium supplement products, RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement only needs to be fed one time. The unique components of this product allow producers to feed two boluses immediately rather than catching a cow a second time to give her an additional bolus.”

RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is available in boxes of 24 or 60 packages, with two boluses in each package. Contact your GENEX representative to place an order or for more information, or contact customer service at 888.333.1783. For more information about GENEX, visit


SecuraTrac® Introduces Tiny, Powerful MobileDefender™ Model S

New Wake on SOS feature extends battery life, improves convenience for mobile workers

SecuraTrac®, a leading provider of mobile health and safety solutions focused on senior safety, employee well-being and the healthcare industry, announces its next generation mPERS mobile emergency pendant, the MobileDefender™ Model S (MD-S). The model S (MD-S) is developed on the same platform as the powerful MobileDefender™ and introduces new capabilities that will help to ensure the safety of those who use the MD-S and the SecuraTrac platform.

Companies that dispatch employees into unknown environments and situations can rely on the MD-S to relay information about employee locations while providing them with an instant connection to help if an emergency occurs. From real estate agents and home healthcare workers meeting with clients to construction workers and engineers alone in the field, the MD-S has a variety of useful applications.

In addition to state-of-the-art location technologies, the MD-S also offers a built-in Fall Advisory capability. The MD-S can detect horizontal and vertical movement so if an employee falls on the job or is knocked over, he or she does not have to initiate a call for help. The MD-S will trigger one automatically. Leveraging existing SecuraTrac cloud-based location technology, the new MD-S adds the ability for Central Stations to respond to potential accidents.

To improve battery lifespan, the MD-S was designed with a new Wake-on SOS feature. Wake-on SOS gives this small, mobile PERS device the ability to last over 30 days on a single charge because the device is off until the SOS button is activated.  This preserves the battery while enabling the device to turn-on, locate, transmit its location, and make the emergency phone call after the SOS is activated.

“There is no other product in the mPERS space capable of preserving battery life with a sleep mode like the MD-S,” said SecuraTrac CEO Chris Holbert. “This plus all of the other great features in one, small package is a game changer. Not only can companies rest assured that they know where their human assets at are in the field at all times, companies and employees can feel empowered about safety. Even if an accident occurs the MD-S can be relied on to create an alert that help may be needed without any action taken by the employee, it could be life-saving.”

For more information about the MobileDefender™ Model S, visit:


Keep Cows Cool From The Inside

Niacin is an effective vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the skin for greater sweating and evaporative cooling. NiaShure is protected from rumen degradation by Balchem's proprietary encapsulation process, ensuring it is delivered to the small intestine.

Research from the University of Arizona showed that feeding NiaShure during heat stress can lower internal body temperature, promoting sustained milk production and protecting reproductive performance.

NiaShure doesn't require any adaptation period so you can add it to the ration when you see heat coming. Then just remove it when the temperature moderates. That's precision feeding at its finest.

Learn more about NiaShure Precision Release Niacin at


Startup wields natural bacterium to improve health of livestock

Bactana Animal Health, a new company providing a natural, sustainable alternative to dosing livestock prophylactically with antibiotics and hormones, joined Cornell’s McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences earlier in May.


The new company is exploring the benefits of naturally occurring bacterium, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, by introducing it into an animal’s gut to stave off disease and promote healthy growth....  Read More (


Virtus Nutrition & Launch Joint Venture My Dairy Dashboard

Web-based technology integrates dairy data sources such as feed, weather, and herd management

Virtus Nutrition and announced today the launch of joint venture My Dairy Dashboard, an online technology hub that addresses the challenges of dairy data integration and visualization.

My Dairy Dashboard is a new way to visualize and analyze a dairy’s key performance metrics, putting simple yet powerful data visuals at the fingertips of producers and consultants.  My Dairy Dashboard connects data sources (e.g., dairy management, feed, milk processor and weather) in one place, making data easier for dairy producers and their advisors to view and analyze. The result: better decisions faster.

“This is an exciting time in dairy with new technologies being rapidly developed to track every aspect of dairy production and farming,” says Mitch Norby, CEO of My Dairy Dashboard.  “The challenge is that almost every technology has its own system, with no easy way to bring all of this data together so that is can be accurately analyzed.  That is what My Dairy Dashboard does in a nutshell,” Norby stated.

Virtus Nutrition and are technology-minded partners and their combined solutions impact the entire dairy industry, from farm to fork.  Virtus Nutrition works directly with dairies and their advisors, while’s web-based software solutions streamline dairy supply chain operations.

“This breadth of experience will help My Dairy Dashboard meet the data aggregation needs for individual dairy producers, consultants and other industry partners as well,” said Dr. Kevin Murphy, COO of My Dairy Dashboard. “We are in the information age where data is sometimes too plentiful.  My Dairy Dashboard will help dairies stay focused on what really matters and save consultants time so they can focus on analysis and helping dairies take action to improve their bottom line,” Murphy stated.

My Dairy Dashboard is deep in the development phase with the anticipated launch planned for later in 2017.  To stay in the loop with My Dairy Dashboard updates and availability or to sign up to be a beta herd , visit


AgriLabs® VetGun™ platform takes control of horn fly resistance to the next level

New AiM-A Abamectin™ VetCaps, now available from AgriLabs®, give cattle producers a new weapon against horn flies – a problem that costs the cattle industry $1 billion each year.

The new AiM-A VetCaps – abamectin insecticide-filled gel capsules – are delivered via the VetGun™ precision-dosage system. With their unique modes-of-action, AiM-A VetCaps can be used in an in-season rotation program with AiM-L™ VetCaps (lambda-cyhalothrin) to manage horn fly resistance in beef cattle.

As part of the VetGun platform, AiM-A VetCaps offer horn fly control that's safe, effective and stress-free for cattle and producers, says AgriLabs Executive Vice President Sean O'Hare. "AiM-A and AiM-L deliver a 'one-two punch' to combat horn flies," O'Hare says, "The new AiM-A VetCap is a significant addition to the VetGun delivery platform, offering cattlemen yet another tool against horn flies."

Topically applied and absorbed through the skin in treated animals, AiM-A Abamectin VetCaps have been shown to be effective against new horn fly hatchlings within 24 hours of feeding. Efficacy lasts up to 30 days.

In an independent field trial conducted in central Texas, AiM-A VetCaps were applied to test cattle with significant horn fly burdens. AiM-A provided knock-down control and remained greater than 95% effective in control of horn flies through four weeks.

"AiM-A VetCaps fit perfectly into producers' insecticide resistance management programs," O’Hare adds. "The addition of new AiM-A takes the VetGun platform to the next level and demonstrates AgriLabs' ability to drive innovation through strategic partnerships."

"The proven convenience of the VetGun enables a single rancher to dose an entire herd out at pasture - no labor, no handling, no stress. Simplifying delivery means ranchers can now apply VetCaps only when parasites are causing economic damage," says Grant Weyer, inventor and CEO of SmartVet. "By minimizing the time horn flies are exposed to each insecticide, then rotating chemical classes in short order, these harmful parasites have less time to develop their defenses. The VetGun has just raised the bar in the fight against parasite resistance."

AgriLabs, along with AiM-A developer and partner SmartVet, continues to bring innovation to the insecticide market with this first-in-class program for the rotation of two different modes of action within the same parasite season. "By color-coding the VetCaps, SmartVet has made the rotation of insecticide classes simple and highly effective" adds Weyer.