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Russian Dairy Uses HDTVs to Increase Milk Output

KOCHERGINA, RUSSIA: Scientific Agriculture Experiment Farm 2.0 in the village of Kochergina, near Moscow, is testing a “zoopsychological theory” that might help boost milk production.

Researchers think that being cooped up in a barn during the long Russian winter causes depression in the cows, leading to reduced milk production. To stimulate the cows, the barn has been outfitted with six 40-inch Samsung Series 7 LCD HDTVs, which display a pastoral scene of an Alpine meadow. Light classical music is also played throughout the barn. A control group of 10 cows are not being allowed to watch TV.

The Web site for the project, Фермы 2.0, includes webcams so that people can observe the cows and online games that allow people to guess how the television viewing will effect milk production ... it also includes several prominent Samsung logos and links to information about the Samsung range of LED HDTVs.

A blogger tapped to help document the project, Норвежский Лесной (Norwegian Wood), described the project as “one of the most courageous and high-tech experiments in the history of domestic agriculture, the aim of which is to find out what effect a realistic television broadcast of alpine meadows has on the milk yield of cows near Moscow, bored in the stalls and dreaming of lush green grass and the gentle summer sun.”

On balance the project seems less scientific and more like a clever viral marketing campaign for Samsung. The site is registered to and designed by Ksan, an Internet marketing company, and the project’s YouTube channel was launched just days before the Фермы 2.0 site went live. Also, as some reports have noted, the television screens are not positioned for optimal bovine viewing.

At the same time, the project has received coverage in Moscow-area newspapers, the Rossiya 2 television program “Vesti” and radio station Serebrjanyj Dozhd’, as well as a mention on the Moscow regional government Web site. —T. Carter Ross (Photo by Норвежский Лесной)