A new study by Cornell University shows that dairy cows using a special grooming device known as a Swinging Cow Brush (SCB) register higher milk production and lower clinical mastitis cases.
The study compared different groups of cows housed in pens using the SCB to the similar reference groups kept in identical pens under the exact same conditions but without the SCB. The research team concluded that second lactation cows using the SCB showed a significant and increasing difference in daily milk production of up to 1kg per day.
"The Swinging Cow Brush provided a favorite pass time for the cows in this herd. It was fun to watch their interaction with this grooming device," said Ynte H. Schukken, Professor of Herd Health at Cornell University.
Installation of the SCB resulted in an immediate increase in cow grooming behavior. Farm workers noticed instantly the frequent, intense use of the brushes and the eagerness of the cows to use them, according to the Cornell research team.
A second major finding was the significant drop in clinical mastitis cases among second and older lactation cows housed in pens with a SCB present.
The SCB was produced by DeLaval, a producer of milking and other dairy farm equipment.