Music and Milk Yield in Dairy Cattle

By broussey, Dec 28, 2013 | |
  1. broussey
    Music definitely is known to have an effect on human behavior, and the same is seen to be true on animals as well. The effect of music on animal behavior has been researched for a long time, and many people have experimented with music on their farm animals. It is interesting to note that cows who are considered contemplative animals showed distinct behavioral pattern changes when exposed to different music.

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    Turn it Up!

    Many farmers and dairy owners have employed various strategies and new technologies to improve milk yield, but none have worked as directly and as effectively as music. However, not every genre of music showed results, and certain genres like rock, in fact decreased milk yield. The best music so far that is known to calm cows and improve their milk yield is western classical music. Even amongst classical music, certain compositions of Mozart have shown the best results compared to Bach and Beethoven.

    Actual research conducted on a farm having about 700 Friesian heifers showed some astonishing results. The cows were exposed to Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto in D Major during milking time, and there was an increase of 1 to 6 liters of milk per cow per day. According to researchers, the music keeps the cows physically relaxed but at the same time, their brains are kept active by the music. In 1990s, there were series of researches that showed listening to music by Mozart improved IQs in human babies and adults. It is therefore not surprising to see this amazing result in cows as well.

    Classical Music Helps Cows Produce More Milk

    In a study conducted in 2001, dairy cows were seen to produce more milk while listening to slow music compared to fast music. Slow music will have less than hundred beats a minute, whereas fast music has over one hundred and twenty beats in a minute. Research showed that milk yield in fact decreased when the cows were subjected to fast music, compared to no music.

    However, many farmers do not agree with the theory that classical music will bring about an improvement in milk yield. Some farmers think that providing adequate feed is the secret to great yield while others rely on technological advances in milking. However, farmers who disagree have not actually tried out classical music, as most of them prefer the quiet and some even dislike classical stuff.

    Many farms have some music system in the milking stalls for entertaining the farm workers and many play country music. However, there has been no improvement in milk production on farms playing country music.

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    Incredible Behavior

    In a study conducted in 1996 showed a surprising behavior pattern change in cows on a farm using AMS (Automated Milking System). After the music started playing for a few months, most cows were seen herding themselves to the automated machines, and did not mind the prodding that is common in these milking procedures. Just a couple of months after the music was played more cows started showing up on their own at the automated stalls to be milked and the yield was also higher by about six to ten percent.

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