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Cows in a barn watch TV showing scenes of grassy fields. In the Farm 2.0 experiment, 10 cows watched TV, and 10 did not. (Nicholas Danilov / www.englishrussia.com)

Cows Like TV, Too!

Turning on the television turns up milk production in Russian farm experiment

By Zach Jones | null null , null
<p><br />Cows at Rogachyovo Farm watch TV. (Nicholas Danilov / www.englishrussia.com)</p>


Cows at Rogachyovo Farm watch TV. (Nicholas Danilov / www.englishrussia.com)

People often complain that something's boring by saying they would rather watch grass grow. But it turns out that cows actually like watching grass grow—so much so that watching images of grassy fields on TV can help them make more milk.

Last year, farmers at the Rogachyovo Farm near Moscow, Russia, wondered why their cows produced less milk during winter. They discovered that cows get sad in winter because they don't like being cooped up indoors. When cows are sad, they make less milk.

So to make their cows a little happier, the Rogachyovo farmers began an experiment called Farm 2.0. Veterinarians set up a special barn where 10 of the 20 cows in it could watch TV.

The screens played images of grassy fields in the Alps, a mountain range in Europe famous for spectacular green valleys where cows graze. "Alpine cows give the best milk," explains the project's manager, Konstantin Labzin.

The veterinarians who took care of Rogachyovo Farm's cows announced that the experiment worked! The cows that watched TV during winter made three liters more milk per day than those that didn't watch. They say the images on TV relaxed the cows, making milking easier.

This isn't the first time cows have been pampered to produce more milk. Many farmers have found that playing music for their cows increases the animals' milk. One farm in England staged a production of William Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor and found its cows made more milk after the performance. And earlier this year, farmers in Hawaii proved the success of a similar experiment after outfitting a barn with waterbeds for 320 cows!

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