Izzet Kocak, a Turkish farmer, has been trending on social media lately. But it is not for a new dance he created or a jingle he invented. Instead, he is getting intention because of the virtual reality goggles his cows are wearing to help them produce milk.
Based on various news sources, Kocak claims that, during the period that he has used the goggles on the cows, milk production has increased by about 5 litres in a day.
Kocak apparently got the idea and the virtual reality goggles from Russia, where farmers have been experimenting with the concept since at least 2019.
According to the 2019 press release from Russian authorities, IT specialists got together with employees working at a large farm near Moscow to conduct an experiment to study the effect of virtual reality. From this experiment, they developed a model of VR-glasses which had to be modified later to fit the particular shape of the heads of cows.
The release said:
In addition to the physical needs of the animals, the researchers have begun to pay more attention to the emotional state of the animals. Examples from dairy farms from various countries show that in a calm atmosphere the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly.
Of course, the experiment has not gone without criticism as some say that the cows are being “tricked” into thinking they are in a different season (e.g. summer, when it is actually winter time).
Others say they are sceptical because, even if cows are seeing green pastures all day long during the winter, cows have a sense of smell and should be able to detect the actual surroundings that they are in.
Notwithstanding the sceptics, researchers in different countries confirm that technology does help.
According to the analysis of welfare of dairy cattle, conducted by the staff of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, environmental conditions have a significant impact on cow health and, consequently, on the quality and quantity of milk produced. These findings are also confirmed by researchers from Scotland’s Rural College in Scotland.
The 2019 Russian release said.
Based on the results, Kocak will continue to use the virtual goggles on his cows and intends to purchase more goggles if milk production also increases for his other cows.
Farmer seen here observing cows as they use virtual goggles