A Scottish family dairy, famed for its luxury ice cream, is hoping its herd of cows will respond favourably to the sound of banjos, harmonies and the music of the American south.
Mackie’s of Scotland is playing country music to its 350 strong milking herd, for an entire fortnight, to celebrate its partnership with Stonehaven’s inaugural ‘Doricana’ festival – an event that is set to host Scotland’s finest country music acts.
The experiment started in August and came to a close over the weekend (10-11 September), with the milk yield measured to the nearest millimetre by the farm’s high-tech robot milking stations, which allow the cows to milk themselves at their own free will.
The yield over the two week period will be compared to the average yield produced against the backdrop of the Aberdeenshire countryside.
Karin Mackie, Marketing Director and one of three sibling owners at Mackie’s, is excited to get the results and analyse the data.
She said: “A while back in 2001 reports emerged of classical music helping cows to produce increased quantities of milk, up to three per cent, but little has been done since to see if they respond positively – or even negatively – to other types of music.
“It’s a perfect way to further enhance our milking stations: the cows enjoy using them, and the laser guided robots give their undersides a wash and even reward the cows with a tasty treat.
“We’re excited to find out if all cows are simply classical music aficionados or if our Aberdeenshire cows are up for a bit of a hooting tootin barn dance as well!”
Providing the backdrop is a continuous playlist of music by Colin Clyne, who heads up the Doricana festival and who approached Mackie’s after spotting its Doric promo boards at the Taste of Grampian festival.
Colin, a multi-award winning and well travelled country musician, said: “The family and I made the move back to Scotland to connect with our roots but I couldn’t resist bringing a little flavour of the States back with me in the form of Doricana Fest.
“Making the move was always going to see a change in my audience demographic but this is a bit unexpected! It’ll be really interesting to see how they respond either in the yield or with a bit of hoof-tapping.
Doricana Fest is a one day, family friendly Americana music festival and will take place at the Stonehaven Town Hall on October 8, 2016 from 4pm – featuring six renowned Scottish acts including Edinburgh’s The Holy Ghosts and The Malpaso Gang from Aberdeen.
Karin added: “Live music is fun and can provide a special experience; we’re delighted to be supporting this new event in the North East, and a large number of our two-legged team will also be heading along to the Doricana event.
“Colin is a top musician and up for a bit of fun – as demonstrated by his open air concerts to the cows and continued performance in the byre, so it is a pleasure to be a sponsor for the event. It’s our first music festival, and we hope that Doricana will become a real date for the calendar and an annual event going forward.”
Mackie’s of Scotland produces over 11 million litres of milk each year, used to make its famous ice cream and part of its ‘sky to scoop’ philosophy – which also sees the Aberdeenshire firm produce everything from renewable energy to its own packaging.
Firmly established as one of the UK’s most popular take-home ice creams, Mackie’s diversified into making crisps in 2009, and chocolate bars in 2014. The firm opened a dedicated £600,000 chocolate factory in March this year.
Follow Mackie’s of Scotland on Twitter: @mackiesscotland