Feature: Kenyan farmer uses music to boost milk production
10 August 2016, 18:35
Nakuru (Xinhua) -- A Kenyan dairy farmer has devised a unique method of using entertainment to make his cows produce more milk.
Arnold Njau, who hails from Nakuru county in northwestern Kenya, came up this bold move and introduced TV sets in the cow shed to keep the animals entertained throughout the day and night in order to boost production after research showed the act is a possibility.
"Just as human beings, cows too get bored and need something to soothe them and make them comfortable and make them produce more milk," Njau told Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday.
Njau pulled his latest stunt after he came across research findings conducted a few years ago that showed that giving dairy cows human names encouraged them to produce more milk.
Having tested this and getting positive results, took his antics a notch higher and did something his neighbors termed outrageous and out of this world.
He suddenly became the laughing stock of the community with some of his peers questioning his mental status.
"Many people gave me a wide berth and avoided me with some saying I should go for mental checkup," said the dairy farmer.
He came across the information following one of his expeditions during a search online for more knowledge on dairy farming, and has since increased his milk production from between 15 liters and 20 litters to over 25 liters.
The retired teacher has now been contracted by a non-governmental organization to train other dairy farmers on the new method of increasing milk production.
Njau has also developed a menu for his cows, where he feeds his cows a mixture of yellow maize and napier grass that he mixes with dairy meal, cotton seed cake and canola.
"I retired five years before and I have to be innovative in order to succeed in my farming endeavors," he remarked.
Njau was mentored by Peter Mathenge who runs a state-of-the-art dairy farm in the county that has left many people baffled.
Mathenge changed his approach to dairy farming after he visited Netherlands to learn modern farming techniques.
"I visited the Nordic country and learned that cows like listening to music as well as watching television," Mathenge told Xinhua.
A few years ago, researchers at the University of Leicester in Britain played different tunes to cows to find out if it had any effect on milk production.
They exposed the bovines to soothing music and the result was an increase of three percent in milk production that came about from aural stimulation.
Likewise, a cow that has been given a name produces more milk than one without, scientists at Newcastle University also in Britain found out, according to study published in a scientific journal.