Whilst quick response (QR) codes have become a commonplace sight in magazine and poster advertisements, one Leicestershire-based dairy farmer has identified a fascinating new medium for this groundbreaking technology: the side of one of her own dairy cows.

Jane Barnes admits that the idea of placing a QR code on one of her prized herd seemed ‘wacky’ at first. However, the farmer claims that her rather whimsical application of QR code technology has proved to be a rather practical means of communicating information on the dairy profession in the UK.

QR codes combine black and white shapes which, though meaningless in themselves, link to a website page if scanned with a smartphone loaded with a special app.

In the case of the dairy cow owned by Mrs Barnes, the QR code has been spray-painted on, so that,in the words of Mrs Barnes:

“When people are walking on our farm…they can get their iPhone and zap the cow.”

The scanned code then puts the smartphone user through to the ‘This Is Dairy Farming’ website, where information on the practicalities of caring for the cow in question is given in the form of the cow’s own ‘blog’.

Mrs Barnes, who gives an assurance that the spray paint applied is of a type which does not harm the cow, says she was inspired to create the QR code largely out of concern for the decline in the UK dairy farming industry: She says:

“If we don’t look after our dairy farmers…we are going to be reliant on imported milk.”