HOLY cow! It’s enough to make a pampered poodle jealous.
The latest must-have machine for Irish dairy farmers is the Swinging Cow Brush, a car-wash type grooming device developed in Sweden.
Just like people, animals look, feel and perform better when they are stylishly groomed and, according to manufacturers DeLaval, cows produce more milk — and therefore more profits — after a good wash and brush-up.
Cork farmer Ricky Barrett swears by the machine which he bought two years ago. “It’s amazing,” says Ricky, who farms in Ballinhassig. “There is always a queue for it. I have 200 cows and they love it and it makes them very comfortable.”
The giant yellow rotating brush boosts milk production in herds by 3.5%, says DeLaval. The product, which is fitted to milking sheds, works by improving the animals’ blood circulation with the massaging effect of its bristles.
“The swinging cow brush is a self-grooming device that keeps cows happier, healthier and more productive,” says a DeLaval spokesman.
A study by New York’s Cornell University last year concluded that cows using the DeLaval machine were 34% less likely to suffer from clinical mastitis, a painful condition which can reduce milk yields.
Andrew Reece, the company’s Irish representative, says the attitude of dairy farmers in Ireland has been mixed.
“We have sold about 300 here so far at a cost of €1,500 each. We have exhibited them at ploughing championships and there has been a lot of interest about them. Those who have bought them wouldn’t be without them but some farmers still see it as a luxury.” But he said: “A happy cow is a more productive cow.”
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