Dennis Armstrong, PhD, University of Arizona, offers these parameters for a successful dry lot dairy.

  • Proper construction begins with proper site drainage design.
  • The area under the pen shades should be 1-2 ft. higher than the pen surface.
  • 600 ± 50 square fee. of dry lot space per cow, fence line to fence line. If not using flush in the manure lane, consider 650 ± 50 square feet.
  • Shade orientation should be north to south or 15-25% from north-south.
  • Use solid shade, steel or aluminum; minimum of 12-feet high.
  • If cattle cooling systems are used under the shade, daily grooming is necessary.
  • Consider bedding under the shade during extreme cold or wet conditions; Straw, no cotton gin trash. Remove weekly in warm climates, bi-weekly in cold.
  • Have a system to clean water trough weekly.
  • If you do not want to maintain pens on a daily basis, do not build a dry lot dairy.

This information was presented at the 2010 NMC Annual Meeting.