By Benjamin Parkin | The Wall Street Journal
U.S. farmers seek to boost milk production by pampering dairy cattle; ‘they can’t get stressed’
Scott Beyer and his farmhands spend mornings scraping manure off the milking-parlor floor. In the nearby climate-controlled barn, cows are sleeping on water beds and munching on nutritionist-crafted meals while high-tech tags on their legs help monitor their health.
“We try to make them live the high life,” said Mr. Beyer, manager of Kelsay Farms outside Greenwood among the corn and soybean fields of central Indiana.
Many of America’s dairy farmers have decided that a happy cow is a cash cow—that treating their cattle like dairy queens yields more milk. They are playing soothing classical music in milking rooms, firing up fans and sprinklers to mimic spring breezes and treating their cows to robotic back-scratching sessions.