How Cows Produce More Milk
So how’s your milk production doing these days? Is your dairy loud, noisy and an extremely busy environment, layered in the sounds of your automated milking equipment? This environment can’t help cows produce more milk. Imagine if you were a cow and had to produce milk in such conditions. You’d likely be as stressed as they are and this would no doubt affect your productivity.
Apparently, a stressed cow is not a happy or productive cow. ModernFarmer.com says “the timing of milk production in bovines is a carefully balanced biological ballet.” I bet if you could ask your cows they’d agree!
As a dairy farmer, you likely already understand this. You know that to have cows produce more milk, you need to become adept in creating comfort for your cows by creating a climate controlled barn, designed to keep your cows happy, comfortable, and productive.
“Stress can inhibit the release of oxytocin — a hormone key to the milk-releasing process. So the happiness of cows is very much on the minds of farmers. The California dairy industry even declared “Happy cheese comes from happy cows” as part of their Real California Milk Campaign (http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/advertising/happy-cows-spots/). So how is a farmer to balance the needs of the herd with that of her business? The answer may be as simple as switching on the radio.”
Cows Love Slow Jams
It’s true – and we have a study that says so! If you want your cows to be in the mood to produce more milk, a study shows that that playing slow, rhythmic music, like “slow jams” will work wonders.
In 2001, psychologists at the University of Leicester (UK) experimented with music and milk production by testing fast music and slow music to 2 different groups of cows. The results showed that the cows that listened to slow music increased their milk output by 3%. Meanwhile cows that heard fast music showed no change in milk production.
Many dairy farmers agree with this theory and play music to help their cows produce milk.
“From a sensory perspective, loud, distracting noise can be one of the greatest stressors to dairy cows and their well-being,” says Juan Velez, executive vice president of Aurora Organic Farms, a large dairy corporation centered in Boulder, Colorado.
“In terms of music, in my 30 years working with dairy cows, I have found that music can be beneficial to the well-being of the cows, but it must be consistent and calming,” says Velez. “If the music volume is kept constant and the style of music is consistent, and everything else in that parlor is well managed and maintained, music can have a positive effect on milk let down.”
The British Columbia Dairy Association are believers in this practice and have put the theory to a test. They created their “Music Makes More Milk” contest which asked the public to create and submit songs that would be suitable for cows milk production.
“The contest was meant to be fun and interactive,” explains Jennifer Woron, marketing manager with the BC Dairy Association. “Studies conducted around the globe showed that music can have a calming effect on cows. Through music, people could not only understand the dairy industry better, they could actually impact the farm’s output by composing a song to make cows happy and produce more milk.”
It gets even better! The cows would ‘vote’ for the best songs! What an amazing campaign that connects Canadian families to the dairy industry.