Image by Linda Tatler

Beef cattle

FARM-LED lighting systems

Lighting cattle for fattening

“Animals kept in buildings must not be kept constantly in the dark or exposed to artificial lighting without an adequate rest period. If the available natural light is insufficient to satisfy the behavioral and physiological needs of the animals, it is necessary to provide for adequate artificial lighting "(DL vo 146/2001, annex, point 11).

All facilities must have sufficient lighting to allow cattle to see each other and be seen clearly, to examine their surroundings and show a normal level of activity. During the lighting phase in a 24 hour cycle, cattle should not be kept permanently at a light intensity, measured at eye level, of less than 40 lux.

DIVISION OF AREAS

As far as beef cattle are concerned, where possible, it is ideal to differentiate the areas of the zootechnical shelter: feeding lane lighting, rest lane lighting

The ideal values of light intensity are around 80-100 lux in the rest areas, while they must have values up to 140-180 lux in the power supply areas.

The light intensity values must be measured at a height of 1.50 meters, i.e. in correspondence with the photoreceptors of the retinas, which stimulate the pineal gland via the hypothalamic retinal nervous tract.

As a result of the required levels of light intensity, the formation of melatonin is inhibited, conditioning the evolutionary biology of the animal which is "more awake".

With the increased activity of its biological functions, the animal feeds more and is more active with individual productivity increases tested.

In the feeding lane the light is always kept on for 24 hours, on the contrary the photoperiod is applied on the rest lane (cubicles or permanent litter).

The light in the feeding aisle, thanks to the specially designed FARM-LED devices, does not impact the rest area, which remains perfectly obscured in the hours of darkness.

PHOTOPERIOD

A photoperiod consisting of 16h of light and 8h of dark is adopted on the rest area.

While on the power lane the lights are always kept on.

Grazing cattle spend about 8 hours eating; the times are regulated by the Ciradian rhythms and the neuro-hormonal system, as well as by the photoperiod (they eat mainly at dawn and in the late afternoon).

The housed cattle spend about 4.5 hours feeding. The moments of feeding are regulated by the man, that is when the unifeed is unloaded.

Hierarchical factors among animals also influence access to the feeding trough and watering. Clashes and rituals between dominant and submissive create highly stressful situations which therefore reduce well-being. Low-ranking cattle, if poorly separated from the dominants, spend a shorter time than these in the manger.

The competition for food occurs above all with the introduction of new subjects into the group with a consequent reduction in food consumption and production losses.

For these reasons and to give all animals the maximum possibility of access, it is important to ensure as many hours of light as possible in the manger, in this way even the submissive animals will be able to feed at all hours of the day.

It is important that cattle always have the mixture available so that they do not have to wait unnecessarily on their feet and that they are not undernourished (risk of sub-clinical acidosis, foot diseases).