On a farm near Moscow VR glasses are tested on cows

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On a farm near Moscow VR glasses are tested on cows

A prototype of VR glasses has been tested on cows on a farm in the Moscow Region, Russia to improve cow conditions. To solve problems in milk production, experts are increasingly being involved – not only biologists and animal experts, but also specialists in the field of IT technologies.

As the global trend towards computerization simplifies work processes in many areas, it also leads to surprising experiments. As Russian milk producers are slightly behind world standards, they took a new path to compete: In addition to physical needs, researchers began to pay more attention to the emotional state of animals. Data of dairy farms from different countries showed that the quantity, and sometimes even the quality of milk increases when cows are living in a calm atmosphere. According to an analysis of the welfare of dairy cattle by Wageningen University in the Netherlands, environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, as a consequence, the quality and quantity of milk produced – findings that are confirmed by researchers from Scotland’s Rural College.
In Suburbs of Moscow, farmers have installed sound equipment that broadcast classical music. The relaxing effect positively affects milk output. Employees of one of the largest of these farms in the Moscow Region, together with IT experts, conducted an experiment for which they developed a special mock-up of virtual reality glasses fitting on cows heads. Based on interviews with farmers using various systems to improve livestock welfare, a relationship was formulated between the positive, including emotional, experience of cows and the positive effect on milk production.
The developers of a virtual reality studio, in cooperation with veterinarians and consultants from the RusMoloko farm of the Ramensky urban district, adapted human VR glasses to the anatomy of the heads of cows. Based on studies of cattle’s vision, the glasses were adapted to show cows better perception of the shades of the red part of the spectrum and weaker green and blue tones. The VR-developers also created a unique program that simulates a summer field.
During the first test, experts recorded a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd. A further study is planned to measure the impact of VR glasses on the milk production of cows. While maintaining the positive dynamics of observations, the developers intend to scale the project and modernize the domestic sphere of dairy production.
The introduction of modern technologies in dairy production was discussed during the sixth International Agro-Industrial Dairy Forum.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network

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