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30th Jul 2012

Friends For-heifer – Study set to Examine the Social Networking of Cows

Home is where the herd is. A three-year study in the UK is attempting to prove that cows work harder when they're nearer their mates

Pull the udder one. How cows become besties is to be examined in a three year study.

British scientists are studying the ‘social network’ of cows to explore how their relationships affect the production of milk.

The Telegraph reports this morning that scientists from the University of Exeter will use high-tech ‘proximity collars’ to observe the behaviour of milk-producing cows when close to, and separated from their friends.

Emerging evidence has suggested that, much like humans, cows work harder when they are happier, and with milk production in the UK accounting for billions, productivity is big business.


British cows produce billions of gallons of milk every year

The first stage of the three-year project is already underway in Devon, where cows on Orway farm are sporting the collars, which utilise radio signals to judge another cows proximity. The cow’s productivity levels can them be gaged with the farm’s robotic milking system.

Results from the study are expected in 2015, and if significant difference in productivity can be seen, it could lead to farmers across the UK allowing their star performers some more downtime hanging with the herd.