Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cow Comfort, Milk Quality, and Snow...

How are cow comfort, milk quality and snow related?

Good question!

The snow has nothing at all to do with the other two, but I threw that in there because last night we had our first snow of the season!  It didn't amount to much, but it came all of a sudden and made the roads a little slick. This morning there's just a trace left, but the cold air is hanging around!  It "feels like" 5 degrees out there right now.  Brrr...thankfully there's not much wind...

Taken from inside the house where any sensible person would stay for as long as possible.  See the screen?

On to the other two...cow comfort and milk quality...

I would have have to do a lot of research...and no, I haven't done find out just how closely the two are related, but we're wondering.  Here's our line of thinking...

First, the cow comfort part...

Back in May, we had a row of cow mattresses put in the barn.  At that time, we only did one row of stalls, because we weren't sure just how we (and the cows) would like them.  Were they worth the money?  Over the course of a few months, we were won over to the idea of replacing more mats with mattresses.  In November, we had two more rows of mats replaced.

Now for the milk quality part...

Each time the milk truck comes, the driver takes two samples of milk from our tank.  One of the samples is used to test the quality of the milk, which helps to determine the price we are paid for our milk.  We have always had good milk quality, but since the first row of mats went in, our somatic cell counts have been slowly dropping.  Since the second and third rows went in, our SSC have dropped dramatically, which translates to great milk quality!

Could the two be related?

We wonder!  Jim's always been very conscientious about cow cleanliness, but could the cows' comfort be playing a big role as well?

Either way, we're not complaining!


  1. It makes sense in a way. The more comfortable they are, they less stress, which means less stress hormones (which probably don't taste so good, right?)

  2. First of all, I have never heard of cow mattresses, so I learned something new. (and will google them to see if I can see what they look like.) Second, I'm amazed that they appear to be paying off. Good news!

  3. From all I read in farming magazines, cow comfort and milk quality are related. The more comfort the cow have, the longer they will lay and rest and produce more milk. When they are not comfortable, they will get up and wander around and get tired and stress. Sometimes they will chose to lay in the dirt rather than laying in a bed that is not comfortable... We all get stress ourselves when we can't rest sufficiently.

    A happy cow will produce more milk.
    Keep up the good work.

  4. Wow, even though you are doing an unscientific study... there's proof in the pudding!

  5. Well, that is great news! I think you should apply for a grant to further study this issue.

  6. That is amazing. I never thought about it. It is pretty cool that you were able to see the results so noticeably. Thanks for sharing such interesting information.

  7. I think most days the cows look more comfortable than i do and in your case I can truly believe that:) Keep warm. Congrats on the great quality it is a big deal, this I know. Hug B

  8. It certainly seems to be the case. Growing up with aunts and uncles that farmed, I always heard them talk about "contented cows," so there may well be some truth to your statement. Bless you and your husband for trying to keep the cows happy - now you have the added bonus of higher milk quality. It's a "win" "win" for evyerone.

  9. Hi Alicia, I am new here. It is really good that your cows are so well taken care of. First time I heard of cow mattresses. The increase in milk quality proves that you are on the right track. Congratulations!

  10. Just to let you know that I just became your newest follower! Have a happy weekend!


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