Posting in Cities
LED bulbs are championed for squeezing out more light while using less energy. A new study finds they could have a different kind of production power.
Conventional wisdom tells us that happy cows make more milk. But what about cows housed in farms equipped with LED bulbs? One recent study overseen by Oklahoma State University suggests LED bulbs -- championed for producing more light while using less energy -- cause cows to make more milk.
The Oklahoma State study aimed to evaluate the energy savings of LEDs and how they performed overall, including their durability on working farm, the Kansas City Star reported. The study also tracked milk production because of concerns the LED lights could harm the animals by interfering, for example, with their feeding schedule.
The study found that cows living in areas of the barn outfitted with LED bulbs produced 6 percent more milk than those housed in spots using fluorescent lighting. The average LED-lit cow delivered an extra half gallon of milk per day.
The Oklahoma dairy farm owner who participated in the research wants to remain anonymous, in case the LED milk production results aren't replicated in larger studies.
So why are LEDs potentially driving up milk production. There are a few theories. One OSU professor noted that LEDs are directional, allowing more light to be focused on troughs to encourage feeding. Less intense light directed on "loafing areas" could help cows relax.
To be clear, this was a very limited study. We may learn more about the relationship between LEDs and cows in the months to come. The University of Missouri wants to start a study later this year and has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture for financial support. The university also will sponsor a conference next month to discuss energy-efficient lighting on farms.
Authors of a four-year University of Arkansas study that examined the relationship between LEDs and chickens believe the energy efficient lighting has calmed the birds and helped them gain more weight.
(Via: Kansas City Star)
Photo: stock.xchng user Marijnvb
- Cree: We've cut the cost of LED streetlights in half
- LEDs turn towering sow's ear into silk purse in Paris
Apr 16, 2012
While the technology has been questionably for some time, there are reputable LED tubes, which plug work as 1 for 1 replacements for fluorescent tubes. There is no DC conversion necessary. The energy savings are only about 50%, and most utilities don't rebate such equipment, but there are exceptions and variances. Most people in the industrial sector realize that the savings come from lights that run 50,000 hours, and that the labor savings are what really adds up. With the increased milk production, the cost should be offset relatively quickly, but I'd need to see the numbers. If you do go LED, just be sure to buy tubes with offboard power supplies, so you don't wire hot AC to the fixture! Almost all makers use this method and UL will be shutting it down soon.
What keeps LED lighting prices high is trying to adapt them to the old sockets which are inefficient to begin with. Trying to shove and AC/DC adapter in the bulb makes them expensive and run hot. We should be replacing the entire fixture with the bulbs. You can buy LED flash lights that can light up an entire yard from the street at any hardware store for $20 right now as they don't need the power conversion. I think if a proper power supply were built into the fixture we could enjoy an LEDs full 20+ year life span at much less cost. This barn could be converted to low voltage DC power for lighting as office buildings often are for further savings. I don't understand why we spend so much time trying to engineer new technologies to fit in the old box. It seems counter productive to me.
. . . keeps his cows in a lighted area? I live on a dairy farm, lights don't enter into the picture at all, LED or otherwise.
At current LED lamp prices the increased milk production and the long term electricity savings will take years if not decades to offset the upfront costs. Dairy farmers live with a thin profit margin and cannot afford the upfront money or even a government loan to complete the upgrade as currently designed. If the price of LEDs can become more competitive with florescent than the gain in milk production can be cost effective. Even better. If a company could develop an LED replacement lamp that will work in existing florescent lighting fixtures it would make the transition easier and more cost effective for more people than just the farmers. Instead of requiring the replacement of entire lighting fixtures.
First, look at the cost of conversion to 12 volt lights and see if the average dairy farmer can afford it. The answer is no. Second, a suitable 12 volt LED light fixture to replace a 110 volt 2 tube X 4 foot long florescent light fixture does not currently exist. I know this because I have been shopping for my barn. I want to go solar because the overhead cable running to it is due for replacement and the price tag a steep. The best I can use is 12 volt LED track lighting that every electrician I have spoken to discourages because a track light kit does not exist that can hold up in a barn environment. Simply put they are a fire hazard in an environment that can be dusty, wet, cold and hot all in the same day. They all say the same thing. LEDs are not there yet. These are people who have been installing LED systems in homes for years. They swear by them, except for in a barn. Until safe, affordable 12 volt LED lighting systems are developed that can hold up to the rigors of a barn it will likely be better to adapt. As much as you hate it. I will bet you also hate hybrid cars because they are an adaption to the reality EVs are not ready for prime time.
In northern latitudes, think Maine, NH, Vermont, Michigan, Wisonsin, cow barns are often lighted during the winter months. It tricks the cows body into producing more milk on the shorter sun lite days of the year. I am not sure how large the increase is, but so I am told by a local dairy farmer, the introduction of florescent lights made it more cost effective and safer than incandescent bulbs. The cows still need 6 to 8 hours of total dark or production starts to fall off. So the lights need to be on timers. It was actually his idea that someone should develop an LED bulb kit that plugged into a standard incandescent light fixture. I pointed him to friend who could work up a design for him to patent the idea..
That is where an affordable LED light that could fit into existing florescent lighting fixtures would be a tremendous boost in allowing your suggestion to happen.