Shade & Cooling

Shade is the most important consideration for reduction of heat stress.

It is worth considering how these can be integrated into existing infrastructure.

The main options for shade infrastructure are explained in the following guides.

These balance the factors that should be considered when investing in cooling infrastructure. The right combination of cooling methods based on how the farm operates is the key to reducing heat stress.

For each option its strengths and limitations are listed and the keys to success are described.

These guides support decision-making around the best placement of resources, time and effort into improving infrastructure in paddocks and lane ways, the dairy yard and feedpads.

Alongside infrastructure, fan system design and/or sprinkler systems are also important systems to air cooling.

Infrastructure considerations

Herd condition


  • Your herd’s susceptibility to heat stress – low / moderate / high – based on location, breed, milk production level and age profile of herd.
  • The walking distances for cows between paddocks and the dairy, and between the dairy and the feedpad (if you have one).

Feeding system


  • What feeding infrastructure and equipment is currently available?
  • Is the feedpad surface concrete?
  • Which feeding system is used?
  • A hybrid system or a TMR system?
  • Does the herd graze over summer?

Daily schedule


  • How many hours do the cows spend in the dairy yard before each milking?
  • How many times a day do you milk?

Trees for Shade

Using trees for shade and shelter belts can be a useful  adaptation for the long-term management of heat stress cow herds.

Soft-roof Shade Structures

Soft-roof structures can be a cost effective way of minimising heat gain to keep cows cool.

Feedpad Shade Structures

Permanent shade structures over feedpads can reduce the impact of heat stress on cows and overall dairy farm productivity.

Portable Shade Structures

Portable shade structures are a useful piece of infrastructure that can be used to manage heat stress in cows, and moved around dairy farms.

Compost Bedded-pack Structures

Compost bedded pack structures provide many benefits for dairy farmers in dryer and warmer climates.



Cool Cows: Strategies for Managing Heat Stress in Dairy Cows

The Cool Cows booklet was designed by Dairy Australia to provide tangible advice that dairy farmers can implement now and into the future to minimise the effects of heat stress.
Issues & Emergencies
Feeding & Farm Systems
Farm Business
Climate & Environment

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