COWS hate country music, according to research involving a Scottish herd and an ice cream firm.
Country tunes were played to 45 cows at a farm in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, to see if the music would increase the amount of milk they produced.
But the researchers got a big surprise when 44 of the animals produced less milk during the experiment.
The overall yield of the herd fell by 3% during the bizarre trial conducted in August and September.
The experiment was the idea of ice cream firm Mackie’s and was partly inspired by earlier research which suggested cows produced more milk if classical music was played.
Colin Clyne, a local musician and founder of Stonehaven’s Doricana Fest, created a soundtrack of tunes to play to the herd.
Strangely, one cow – pregnant with a second calf due in March next year – increased her milk yield increased by one litre over the test period after listening to country tunes.
The research also showed that, even if yields dropped, cows were curious about the music.
Some 73% of the sample group increased their visits to the milking robot during the musical fortnight.
Lesley Skene, Mackie’s Farm Administrator, said: “If we are to judge an increased yield as a sign that a cow liked country music, then we have at least one big fan among the herd, who perhaps we’ll have to re-name ‘Emmy-moo’.
“I couldn’t believe it once the data had been analysed as I had spotted her in particular moving in to enjoy the silage in the spot closest to the music source.”
Karin Mackie, the firm’s marketing director, said: “Although the yields are down we are considering expanding the trial and investing in more suitable overhead speakers for the byre.
“It’d be fun to see if we can successfully replicate the earlier study where millk yields were enhanced by playing soothing classical music.”
Colin said: “It has certainly been fun visiting the experiment on the farm. It’s not my usual type of rehearsal space. I won’t be worrying about the milk yield too much, as long as the cows are enjoying the music!”