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Int J Biometeorol. 2014 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of four different reflective barriers on black-globe temperatures in calf hutches.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, 2471 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843, USA, t-friend@tamu.edu.


Polyethylene hutches are a popular method of housing dairy calves from 0 to 60 or more days of age, although these hutches get hot when in full sun. This study characterized the relative differences in the ability of four different types of radiant barriers to reduce black-globe temperature within these hutches. Treatments included three different types of covers (two types of laminates (Cadpak P and Cadpak ESD) and an aluminized 3.0-mil white low-density polyethylene (LDPE)) and a reflective paint (LO/MIT-1). The reflective covers were 1.8 × 3 m finished size, and covered the top and sides of the hutch down to 0.15 m above the ground, leaving the front and back exposed. The LO/MIT-1 paint covered the entire sides and roof of the hutch. Two 24-h trials 1 week apart were conducted during relatively hot and clear days in early August. Black-globe temperatures were recorded in duplicate and averaged at 20-min intervals using blackened table tennis balls mounted 0.3 m above the floor in the center of each hutch. Ambient temperature (shade) during the hottest 2-h period for both trials averaged 39.9 °C while the uncovered control averaged 41.1 °C, and LO/MIT-1 averaged 39.9 °C; both of which were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than the Cadpak P (38.9 °C), Cadpak ESD (38.6 °C), and aluminized LDPE (38.7 °C). During periods of high solar radiation, the hutches with covers had lowest black-globe temperatures followed by hutches painted with reflective paint, while control hutches had the highest temperature.

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