Teat Tweets at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

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07 Nov Teat Tweets at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

This is ContrastAmanada. She’s an 8-year old Holstein who isn’t afraid to milk herself and has her own Twitter feed. I struggle with social media, but with the help of University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab, a herd of bovines from Buttermine Farms in Brant, Ontario  are tweeting me to shame. Thanks to a radio ID tag, a robotic milking machine and some computer programmers with a great sense of humour,  a dozen dairy cattle are keeping their tweeps up to date on milk production, failed milking attempts and what’s going on at the corral.

What’s a cow got to say? Find out for yourself. You can follow one, two or all 12 via Twitter, or you can read about them on their website, Teat Tweet. The programmers have given each cow a unique personality and on occasion toss in bovine-related quotes from Virgil. Not only do these cows get hooked up to the latest technology, they get really cool names like: Frosty Lace, Jerry J Lo, Morty Fy and Kurt Appeal.

I’m partial to sassy ChargeCindy, myself, but you might disagree.

Why are these cows tweeting? The group is looking for ways to “allow the farmer to regain intimacy with his cows, and allow anyone at all to learn more about where their milk comes from. The primary goal of the project is to raise questions about how technology mediates the relationship between animals and humans.”

Not sure about the relationship between cow and farmer, but I’ve learned a lot about the cows in only a day — like how quickly cows milk, how much they produce and how often. What do you think of this project? Read a few tweets and let me know.

Now I’m off to The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to cook some beef and then visit the non-tweeting farm animals.

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4 Comments
  • Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie
    Posted at 15:38h, 07 November Reply

    Um, I’m speechless. I don’t even know what to say.

    Even if it DID help improve that all important farmer to cow relationship – what does THAT do? Does it improve the bottom line or make more people want to go into farming? Or is it just a touchy-feely kinda thing? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:43h, 09 November Reply

      @Denise Michaels – Adventurous Foodie, I don’t know if Critical Media Lab even knows what it will do. All I can say is I have learned a bit about dairy cows and am brushing up on my Virgil.

  • jodi (bloomingwriter)
    Posted at 18:03h, 07 November Reply

    I first saw a robotic milker in action a few weeks ago; was fascinated by it. The cows are doing brilliantly, no mastitis, better productivity, and the farmer are able to do other chores while the cows milk themselves. Very cool. Not sure about the tweeting, though.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:45h, 09 November Reply

      @jodi (bloomingwriter), I was amazed by everything in this experiment. The robotic milking machine is wonderful. Didn’t know it reduced mastitis, so that’s even better.

      I hope the tweeting helps people realize their food comes from farms, not super markets. Will it work? I don’t know. It’s harmless, so why not? I guess time will tell. In the meanwhile, I’m learning a bit and enjoying the tweets.

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