Can VR really help cows produce more milk?

Image sourced from; the website of Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region

Virtual Reality is a confusing term indeed. The term is derived from both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and ‘reality’ is what human beings experience. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. But how far are we using VR, definitely not everyday. But, Russia has gone a bit too far. Russian farmers are experimenting with Virtual Reality in the hope that it can help cows produce more milk. Yes! you read that right.

The Ministry of Agriculture in Moscow is testing a scheme whereby adapted VR  headsets are strapped to cows faces.Hard to believe but true! Now, what happens is, the cows are virtually transported to calm landscapes and rolling fields. This provides them with better environmental conditions. It is believed that each cow’s health will be improved with this little experiment and this will yield greater quality and quantity of milk.

Now, what is a VR headset?

A virtual reality headset is a head-mounted device that provides ‘virtual reality’ for the one who wears it. Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are widely used with video games but they are also used in other applications, including simulators and trainers. They comprise a stereoscopichead-mounted display (providing separate images for each eye), stereo sound, and head motion tracking sensors (which may include gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, structured light systems etc). Some VR headsets also have eye tracking sensors and gaming controllers.

The website of Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow region states, “According to an analysis of the welfare of dairy cattle by Wageningen University employees in the Netherlands, environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, as a consequence, the quality and quantity of milk produced. These findings are also confirmed by researchers from Scotland’s Rural College in Scotland. 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.”
“Technology improvements should affect the industry as a whole. During the first test, experts recorded a decrease in anxiety and an increase in the overall emotional mood of the herd. The impact of VR glasses on the milk production of cows will be shown by a further comprehensive study. While maintaining 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 will be discussed during the VI International Agro-Industrial Dairy Forum,” the statement on the website added.

The below is the link for the official statement:

https://msh.mosreg.ru/sobytiya/novosti-ministerstva/25-11-2019-10-07-55-na-podmoskovnoy-ferme-testirovali-vr-ochki-dlya-ko?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.interfax.ru%2Frussia%2F685484

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