Happy Cows, Happy Cheese

According to this report, stress can inhibit the release of oxytocin—a hormone key to the milk-releasing process. So the happiness of cows is very much on the minds of farmers. The California dairy industry even declared “Happy cheese comes from happy cows.” 
Some groups recommend music as a method of getting milk cows “in the mood.” Classical music is high on the list—although I suspect the “1812 Overture” might curdle a few gallons of the white stuff before it leaves the milking parlor. The site listed above recommends songs from such diverse performers as Mozart, Aretha Franklin, REM, and Lou Reed.
I hand milked our cow years ago when the Beatles were rolling across America, so I was probably humming “Please Please Me” when I stumbled into the barn. Old Bossy was hip to the British invasion, so a few times she swatted her tail to the beat of Herman and the Hermits’ “No Milk Today.” 
Modern tunes like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” could work on good milking days and Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” on the bad ones. But my farming soundtrack comes from the oldies, so here is a list I included in a blog a few months ago.
On good days, my music to work by may have included Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feelin’ Groovy” and the Young Rascals “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” but there were other moments on the farm when more discordant songs stuck like earworms in my head:
#1  ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”  –when the spreader chain broke in the field and we pitched manure back out after having pitched it in.
#2  Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang”  –while picking up rocks from a barren cornfield in the back forty.
#3  The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Outta This Place”  –while cleaning manure out of a neighbor’s dusty and claustrophobic chicken coop.
#4  B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone”  –while grabbing the last bale on the ninth hayrack load in a field of never-ending hay windrows.
#5 The Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night”  –when driving in the final load of corn from the field, after dark on a cold October night.
#6 The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night”  –during farrowing time when the sows might decide any hour of the day was a good time for baby pigs.
#7 The Monkees’ “Daydream Believer”  –experienced in a trance after four hours of going back and forth on a four-row cultivator in a field with foot-high corn.
#8 Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Wanna Work on Maggie’s Farm No More”  –toward the end of a session where we held and vaccinated a hundred or more baby pigs.
# 9 The Easybeats “Friday on My Mind”  –especially during the later teen/car years, but it was usually “Saturday on My Mind” when the pitchforks, tractors, and feed buckets were set aside for a spell. 
Note: I never did hum along with Johnny Paycheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It.” As I said above, even in my dazed and confused teen years, I knew how lucky I was to be raised on a farm.  
by dan gogerty (pic from flickercushingmemorial)

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