At least four dairies in Oregon's Willamette Valley have bought into the "new thing" in dairy farming: buying water beds for their cows.
"There's four or five dairies in the Willamette Valley that have them. It's really beginning to catch on around here," Kevin Krous with NW Dairy Service told KGW.
The cow water bed trend reportedly began in Minnesota but is now starting to catch on, on the West Coast. For example, the Van Loon Dairy has purchased more than 300 such beds for their cows, at a cost of more than $100,000.
"As the cow gets ready to lie down, water moves to the front bag where her knees will come first therefore cushion it more. Less sores, less cows being stuck. Happier cows, happier milk," said Ben Van Loon.
DCC Waterbeds is one of the companies producing the beds "with cows specifically in mind." You can watch more videos of the cow water beds in action on DCC's site. The company says its business model has been going international and includes a recent visit from Mexican farmers interested in improving their dairy stock's output and health.
Van Loon and other farmers say the water beds are sound investments, cutting down on the traditional and expensive grass seed normally used for cow bedding. And Van Loon says they're safer for his cows too.
"Moisture and heat are your two enemies. Bacteria doesn't really grow on any rubber," he said.
- Nature & Environment