A Playlist of Music Scientifically-Proven to Increase Cows’ Milk Production: REM, Lou Reed & More


Image by Daniel Schwen via Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

Let’s test our agri­cul­ture math skills with a lit­tle dairy indus­try sto­ry prob­lem:

If an 8‑ounce glass of whole milk pro­vides 149 calo­ries, 8 grams of pro­tein, 276 mil­ligrams of cal­ci­um, 8 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of sat­u­rat­ed fat and 24 mil­ligrams of cho­les­terol, and a cup of two-per­cent milk has 120 calo­ries, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of sat­u­rat­ed fat and 20 mil­ligrams of cho­les­terol, what kind of music will result in an over­all milk pro­duc­tion increase of 3%?

Accord­ing to a study at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leices­ter School of Psy­chol­o­gy, the answer is slow jams and easy lis­ten­ing.

Huh. Based on the con­cert tees of the boys I grew up around in Indi­ana, I would have guessed Rush or Guns N’ Ros­es. (Maybe there was some Bar­ry Manilow going on behind closed barn doors?)

Actu­al­ly, research shows that bovine musi­cal pref­er­ence, like that of aer­o­bics instruc­tors, hinges less on any spe­cif­ic artist than on beats per minute.

…I hope they did­n’t spend too much on this study. Upon reflec­tion, isn’t it just com­mon sense that noise-sen­si­tive herd ani­mals attached to machines via their udders would choose a mel­low groove over death met­al or psy­chobil­ly?

(Poor Bana­nara­ma. It must’ve stung when the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leices­ter’s team told the world that 1,000 Hol­stein Friesian cat­tle liked lis­ten­ing to noth­ing at all bet­ter than their 1986 Bill­board Hot 100 #1 hit, “Venus.”)

To para­phrase anoth­er 80’s fave, I know what cows like, thanks to a pan­el of five Hol­steins who got to pick the win­ner of the British Colum­bia Dairy Asso­ci­a­tion’s 2012 “Music Makes More Milk” con­test. Brace your­self:

Did any­one else just imag­ine a thou­sand cows with phones to their ears, chew­ing their cuds and swish­ing their tails, con­tent to remain on hold indef­i­nite­ly?

Should the above tune ever grow old (doubt­ful) there’s always Shake­speare. Accord­ing to NPR, a the­atri­cal read­ing of “The Mer­ry Wives of Wind­sor” proved pop­u­lar, milk-wise, with an audi­ence of UK cows. And Mod­ern Farmer has hon­ored Lou Reed by includ­ing one of his com­po­si­tions (no, not “Met­al Machine Music, Part 1”) in their recent Playlist To Milk By:

Every­body Hurts,” REM

What a Dif­fer­ence A Day Makes,” Aretha Franklin

Bridge Over Trou­bled Water,” Simon & Gar­funkel

Moon Riv­er,” Dan­ny Williams

Orinoco Flow,” Celtic Woman

Per­fect Day,” Lou Reed (The Lit­tle Willie’s Lou Reed cow-tip­ping song aside, can you pic­ture him milk­ing one?)

via Grist

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jazz for Cows

Sir Patrick Stew­art Demon­strates How Cows Moo in Dif­fer­ent Eng­lish Accents

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, zine pub­lish­er, and recent con­vert to almond milk. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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