UAE: Cows 'chill' at 26°C in Sharjah farm as summer peaks

The advanced cooling technology does not only ensure the wellbeing of the cows, but also guarantees optimal milk production


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Photos: Wam
Photos: Wam

Published: Thu 4 Jul 2024, 4:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jul 2024, 10:12 PM

Imagine a temperature-controlled, cool home at an optimal 26°C while the mercury rises to nearly 50°C outside. This is what more than a thousand cows at Sharjah’s Mleiha dairy farm are enjoying every day, even during peak summer.

The advanced cooling technology does not only ensure the wellbeing of the cows, but also guarantees optimal milk production.

The cows were all imported from Denmark and the entire farm can house up to 2,500 cows across its expansive 3,770,000 square metre area. There are currently four barns accommodating 1,200 cows. An additional 1,300 cows are expected to arrive in September this year.

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In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, representatives from Sharjah Agricultural and Livestock Est. – now renamed Ektifa – emphasised their priority was to ensure that cows are comfortable and well taken care of in the UAE's summer heat.

The barns are equipped with automatic systems that spray water and mist. The automatic air cooling system is tailored to create a moderate environment for the cows inside the farm barns. Each cooling unit is sufficient for approximately 15 cows, that help reduce the temperature inside the barn to 26°C during the summer season.

The sensors also operate according to the temperature, while dry fans expel flies and help circulate air inside the barns. There are also wind curtains that open and close automatically.

It was in April this year that Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, inaugurated the first phase of the farm. Ektifa prioritised getting the herd settled before summer, enabling them to gradually adapt to the UAE environment.

Set to distribute dairy products by July next year, the farm aims to complete its dairy processing plant by early 2025, starting with a daily capacity of 75,000 litres of raw milk, and scaling up to 61 million litres annually by 2028.

The cows are predominantly females, ensuring the maintenance of a pure A2A2 gene pool, contributing to the farm's nucleus herd of 5,000.

The organic milk, carrying A2A2 protein (the same primary protein found in human milk), is of high quality, free of hormones and antibiotics, and rich in nutrients beneficial to human health. It contains a fat content of approximately more than 3.5 per cent, and a protein content of 3.5 per cent, and is considered one of the finest types of milk that will reach consumers.

The milk will reach the consumer in its natural form without any interference or reduction in its components. It is also characterised by ease of digestion and reduces intestinal disorders.

Cows at Mleiha Dairy Farm are nourished with organic feed, sourced through a blend of on-site wheat bran and organic hay from Maliha's wheat farm. Space on the farm has also been allocated for growing organic fodder, with the aim of reducing expenses and relying on the circular economy.


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