Why are some Russian cows wearing headsets? To calm them down. And to become more productive.

1 December 2019 By Paul Martin

The video and audio systems were specially adapted to fit the cows’ shape of heads.

Emotionally calming experiences like this have shown that the cows produce more milk and better quality milk, the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and Food said.

Though the first round of testing seemed to bolster “the overall emotional mood of the herd”, it said.

According to a statement from the ministry, the experiments took place at the RusMoloko farm in Moscow’s Ramensky district.

“Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere, the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly,” it read.

Researchers will examine the effects of the programme in a long-term study. The developers reportedly hope to expand the project if positive results continue.

Cow dons VR headset on a Russian farm
A Russian cow being fitted with video equipment

Meanwhile another cow-calming experiment has been conducted by Alfonso Camassa, an Italian vet working in the English countryside county of Hampshire.

Alfonso trains every week with a professional opera coach, and persuades skeptical but amused farmers that by him singing to the cows they will produce better-quality milk.

“I have no evidence yet – but at least there is no customer resistance from the animals,” Alfonso says.

The Russians also do not have any independent evidence of success, but do state: “Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly.”

На подмосковной ферме тестировали VR очки для коров

Researchers will examine the effects of the programme in a long-term study. The developers reportedly hope to expand the project if positive results continue.

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