The pride in Robin Vink’s voice is unmistakable when he talks about his business in the state of Paraná, Brazil – a business which he heads together with his brother-in-law Johannes Arthur Van Der Meer: “Some 53 years after the company was founded, we now employ 32 individuals, and produce more than 30,000 liters of milk per day.
Apart from the figures themselves, the way we do this has always been important to us.” The company generates around 60 percent of the energy it requires from a biogas plant, and also makes sure that efficiency and animal well-being go hand in hand when it comes to looking after their livestock.
Vink also had this principle in mind when he began planning the new barn. The barn should not just be any old building, rather a state-of-the-art freestall barn that provides the dairy cows with more space to move freely, and an optimized and comfortable environment. “It’s clear that modern technology can help us to keep improving livestock farming,” says Vink.
“In this project, our most important objectives were to make optimum use of the space, keep the energy consumption of the new building as low as possible, and to increase milk production per animal in terms of time. The latter is best achieved when the animals are happy and healthy.”
Experts in Air Conditioning for Barns
Vink brought the company Ordemilk on board to implement the project. He had worked with Ordemilk, a company that specializes in automation and air conditioning solutions in agriculture, before, and had good experiences with them. The Ordermilk engineering team explains: “For a project of this size, it is important to install reliable and efficient components. Our partnership with ebm-papst enables us to optimally meet this requirement when it comes to the fans.”
For the freestall barn, Ordemilk suggested a modern barn air conditioning system with 80 EC axial fans with guard grills, and a diffuser, all from ebm-papst. These ensure efficient air flow that can easily be controlled, as the Ordermilk engineers explain: “Depending on the outside temperature and the layout of the barn, the fans can be individually controlled in a targeted manner. This is possible using a central control system.”
The communication channel between the fans and the control system is the MODBUS interface that ebm-papst products are equipped with. It is not only possible to actuate the fans, but their exact state can also be transmitted to the control system.
In addition to monitoring the air flow, sensors in the barn also record other factors such as the humidity and ammonia content of the air. This results in a comprehensive picture of the microclimate in the barn, which the farmer can react to at any time. After all, they can view all the parameters together on a dashboard using a smartphone app.
A Good Climate All Round
Robin Vink immediately saw the benefits of this solution, so Ordemilk received the order to install the air conditioning in the barn as planned. After several months of construction, 800 cows now live in the freestall barn and enjoy an optimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius all year round. As planned, their milk output has increased considerably.
Vink is completely satisfied with his new barn: “The cost-benefit ratio is excellent. The solution was not the cheapest that we were offered, but after a year of using it, I can safely say that it has proven to be the right option in terms of technology, and is also the most energy efficient.”