A dairy farm in Russia has taken the unusual step of supplying virtual reality (VR) glasses to its dairy cows to improve their wellbeing.
According to Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture, a prototype of VR glasses was tested on a farm in the Moscow Region.
In addition to their physical needs, researchers are also paying more attention to the emotional state of animals. The researchers cite examples of experiments on dairy farms in other countries showing that in a calm atmosphere, for instance by playing classical music (possibly Tchai-cow-sky, Beethoofen or Moozart), the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly.
Employees of one of the largest farms in the Moscow Region, together with IT experts, decided to conduct an experiment, having studied the effect of virtual reality, and developed some VR glasses.
The researchers cited an analysis of the welfare of dairy cattle by Wageningen University researchers in the Netherlands, which state that environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, as a consequence, the quality and quantity of milk produced.
These findings were confirmed by researchers from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). Based on interviews with farmers using various systems to improve livestock welfare, a positive, including emotional, experience of cows had a positive effect on milk production.
The developers of the virtual reality system, in cooperation with veterinarians, adapted human VR-glasses, taking into account the structural features of the head of cows. Based on numerous studies of cattle's vision, showing cows better perceiving shades of the red part of the spectrum and weaker green and blue tones, virtual reality creators produced a ‘summer field’ simulation program.
During the first test, experts recorded a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd. A subsequent study will look at the impact of VR glasses on milk production.
Seems like an interesting opportunity for Moogle, although as of today, the field VR simulation program was not trending on the Apple App store.
The introduction of modern technologies in dairy production was discussed during the VI International Agro-Industrial Dairy Forum in Moscow on November 26 and 27.