"Milkcow" redirects here. For the German submarine, see German Type XIV submarine. A Holstein cow with prominent udder and less muscle than is typical of beef breeds Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are cattle cows bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus. Historically, there was little distinction between dairy cattle and beef cattle, with the same stock often being used for both meat and milk production.
Today, the bovine industry is more specialized and most dairy cattle have been bred to produce large volumes of milk. The United States dairy herd produced 83.9 billion kg (185 billion lbs) of milk in 2007, up from 52.6 billion kg (116 billion lbs) in 1950, yet there were only about 9 million cows on U.S. dairy farms—about 13 million fewer than there were in 1950. The top breed of dairy cow within Canada's national herd category is Holstein, taking up 93% of the dairy cow population, have an annual production rate of 10 257 kg of milk per cow that contains 3.
9% butter fat and 3.2% protein. Management Cows on a dairy farm in Maryland, U.S. Dairy cows may be found either in herds or dairy farms where dairy farmers own, manage, care for, and collect milk from them, or on commercial farms. Herd sizes vary around the world depending on landholding culture and social structure. The United States has 9 million cows in 75,000 dairy herds, with an average herd size of 120 cows.
The number of small herds is falling rapidly with the 3,100 herds with over 500 cows producing 51% of U.S. milk in 2007. The United Kingdom dairy herd overall has nearly 1.5 million cows, with about 100 head reported on an average farm. In New Zealand, the average herd has more than 375 cows, while in Australia, there are approximately 220 cows in the average herd. Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to a high enough temperature for a short period of time to kill the microbes in the milk and increase keep time and decrease spoilage time by killing the microbes, decrease the transmission of infection and eliminates enzymes that reduce the quality and shelf life Pasteurization is either completed at 63 °C for 30 minutes or a flash pasteurization is completed for 15 seconds at 72 °C.
 To maintain lactation, a dairy cow must be bred and produce calves. Depending on market conditions, the cow may be bred with a "dairy bull" or a "beef bull." Female calves (heifers) with dairy breeding may be kept as replacement cows for the dairy herd. If a replacement cow turns out to be a substandard producer of milk, she then goes to market and can be slaughtered for beef. Male calves can either be used later as a breeding bull or sold and used for veal or beef.
Dairy farmers usually begin breeding or artificially inseminating heifers around 13 months of age. A cow's gestation period is approximately nine months. Newborn calves are removed from their mothers quickly, usually within three days, as the mother/calf bond intensifies over time and delayed separation can cause extreme stress on both cow and calf. Domestic cows can live to 20 years; however, those raised for dairy rarely live that long, as the average cow is removed from the dairy herd around age four and marketed for beef.
 In 2014, approximately 9.5% of the cattle slaughtered in the U.S. were culled dairy cows: cows that can no longer be seen as an economic asset to the dairy farm. These animals may be sold due to reproductive problems or common diseases of milk cows such as mastitis and lameness. Calf Market calves are generally sold at two weeks of age and bull calves may fetch a premium over heifers due to their size, either current or potential.
Calves may be sold for veal, or for one of several types of beef production, depending on available local crops and markets. Such bull calves may be castrated if turnout onto pastures is envisaged, in order to render the animals less aggressive. Purebred bulls from elite cows may be put into progeny testing schemes to find out whether they might become superior sires for breeding. Such animals may become extremely valuable.
Most dairy farms separate calves from their mothers within a day of birth to reduce transmission of disease and simplify management of milking cows. Studies have been done allowing calves to remain with their mothers for 1, 4, 7 or 14 days after birth. Cows whose calves were removed longer than one day after birth showed increased searching, sniffing and vocalizations. However, calves allowed to remain with their mothers for longer periods showed weight gains at three times the rate of early removals as well as more searching behavior and better social relationships with other calves.
 After separation, some young dairy calves subsist on commercial milk replacer, a feed based on dried milk powder. Milk replacer is an economical alternative to feeding whole milk because it is cheaper, can be bought at varying fat and protein percentages, and is typically less contaminated than whole milk when handled properly. Some farms pasteurize and feed calves milk from the cows in the herd instead of using replacer.
A day-old calf consumes around 5 liters of milk per day. Bull A bull calf with high genetic potential may be reared for breeding purposes. It may be kept by a dairy farm as a herd bull, to provide natural breeding for the herd of cows. A bull may service up to 50 or 60 cows during a breeding season. Any more and the sperm count will decline, leading to cows "returning to service" (to be bred again).
A herd bull may only stay for one season since over two years old their temperament becomes too unpredictable. Bull calves intended for breeding commonly are bred on specialized dairy breeding farms, not production farms. These farms are the major source of stocks for artificial insemination. See also: Sexing Milk production levels Dairy cattle in Mangskog, Sweden, 1911. Dairy Cows, Collins Center, New York, 1999 The dairy cow will produce large amounts of milk in its lifetime.
Production levels peak at around 40 to 60 days after calving. Production declines steadily afterwards until milking is stopped at about 10 months. The cow is "dried off" for about sixty days before calving again. Within a 12 to 14-month inter-calving cycle, the milking period is about 305 days or 10 months long. Among many variables, certain breeds produce more milk than others within a range of around 6,800 to 17,000 kg (15,000 to 37,500 lbs) of milk per year.
The Holstein Friesian is the main breed of dairy cattle in Australia, and said to have the "world's highest" productivity, at 10000L of milk per year. The average for a single dairy cow in the US in 2007 was 9164.4 kg (20,204 lbs) per year, excluding milk consumed by her calves, whereas the same average value for a single cow in Israel was reported in the Philippine press to be 12,240 kg in 2009.
 High production cows are more difficult to breed at a two-year interval. Many farms take the view that 24 or even 36 month cycles are more appropriate for this type of cow. Dairy cows may continue to be economically productive for many lactation cycles. In theory a longevity of 10 lactations is possible. The chances of problems arising which may lead to a cow being culled are high, however; the average herd life of US Holstein is today fewer than 3 lactations.
This requires more herd replacements to be reared or purchased. Over 90% of all cows are slaughtered for 4 main reasons: Infertility - failure to conceive and reduced milk production. Cows are at their most fertile between 60 and 80 days after calving. Cows remaining "open" (not with calf) after this period become increasingly difficult to breed, which may be due to poor health. Failure to expel the afterbirth from a previous pregnancy, luteal cysts, or metritis, an infection of the uterus, are common causes of infertility.
Mastitis - a persistent and potentially fatal mammary gland infection, leading to high somatic cell counts and loss of production. Mastitis is recognized by a reddening and swelling of the infected quarter of the udder and the presence of whitish clots or pus in the milk. Treatment is possible with long-acting antibiotics but milk from such cows is not marketable until drug residues have left the cow's system, also called withdrawal period.
Lameness - persistent foot infection or leg problems causing infertility and loss of production. High feed levels of highly digestible carbohydrate cause acidic conditions in the cow's rumen. This leads to Laminitis and subsequent lameness, leaving the cow vulnerable to other foot infections and problems which may be exacerbated by standing in faeces or water soaked areas. Production - some animals fail to produce economic levels of milk to justify their feed costs.
Production below 12 to 15 litres of milk per day is not economically viable. Cow longevity is strongly correlated with production levels. Lower production cows live longer than high production cows, but may be less profitable. Cows no longer wanted for milk production are sent to slaughter. Their meat is of relatively low value and is generally used for processed meat. Another factor affecting milk production is the stress the cow is faced with.
Psychologists at the University of Leicester, UK, analyzed the musical preference of milk cows and found out that music actually influences the dairy cow's lactation. Calming music can improve milk yield, probably because it reduces stress and relaxes the cows in much the same way as it relaxes humans.  Cow comfort and its effects on milk production Certain behaviors such as eating, rumination, and lying down can be related to the health of the cow and cow comfort.
 These behaviors can also be related to the productivity of the cows. Likewise, stress, disease, and discomfort will have a negative effect on the productivity of the dairy cows. Therefore, it can be said that it is in the best interest of the farmer to increase eating, rumination, and lying down and decrease stress, disease, and discomfort to achieve the maximum productivity possible. Also, estrous behaviors such as mounting can be a sign of cow comfort, since if a cow is lame, nutritionally deficient, or are housed in an over crowded barn, the performance of estrous behaviors will be altered.
 Feeding behaviors are obviously important for the dairy cow, as feeding is how the cow will ingest dry matter, however, the cow must ruminate to fully digest the feed and utilize the nutrients in the feed. Dairy cows with good rumen health will likely be more profitable than cows with poor rumen health, as a healthy rumen will aid in the digestion of nutrients. An increase in the time a cow spends ruminating is associated with the increase in health and an increase in milk production.
 Cows have a high motivation to lie down  so farmers should be conscious of this, not only because they have a high motivation to lie down, but also because lying down can increase milk yield. When the lactating dairy cow lies down, blood flow is increased to the mammary gland which in return results in a higher milk yield. To ensure that the dairy cows lie down as much as needed, the stalls must be comfortable.
 Put very simply, a stall should have a rubber mat, bedding, and be large enough for the cow to lie down and get up comfortably. Signs that the stalls may not be comfortable enough for the cows are the cows are standing, either ruminating or not, instead of lying down, or perching, which is when the cow has its front end in the stall and their back end out of the stall. There are 2 types of housing systems in dairy production, free style housing and tie stall.
Free style housing is where the cow is free to walk around and interact with its environment and other members of the herd. Tie stall housing is when the cow is chained to a stantion stall with the milking units and feed coming to them. By-products By-products of milk include butterfat, cream, curds, and whey. Butterfat is the fat in milk. The cream is the yellowish part of the milk. The cream contains 18–40% butterfat.
Whey is the watery part of the milk. The industry can be divided into 2 market territories; fluid milk and industrialized milk such as yogurt, cheeses, and ice cream. Reproduction Since the 1950s, artificial insemination (AI) is used at most dairy farms; these farms may keep no bull. Artificial insemination uses estrus synchronization to indicate when the cow is going through ovulation and is susceptible to fertilization.
Advantages of using AI include its low cost and ease compared to maintaining a bull, ability to select from a large number of bulls, elimination of diseases in the dairy industry, improved genetics and improved animal welfare  Rather than a large bull jumping on a smaller heifer or weaker cow, AI allows the farmer to complete the breeding procedure within 5 minutes with minimum stress placed on the individual female's body  More recently, embryo transfer has been used to enable the multiplication of progeny from elite cows.
Such cows are given hormone treatments to produce multiple embryos. These are then 'flushed' from the cow's uterus. 7-12 embryos are consequently removed from these donor cows and transferred into other cows who serve as surrogate mothers. The result will be between 3 and 6 calves instead of the normal single, or rarely, twins. Hormone use Hormone treatments are sometimes given to dairy cows in some countries to increase reproduction and to increase milk production.
The hormones are used to produce multiple embryos have to be administered at specific times to dairy cattle to induce ovulation. Frequently, for economic considerations, these drugs are also used to synchronise a group of cows to ovulate simultaneously. The hormones prostaglandin, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and progesterone are used for this purpose and sold under the brand names Lutalyse, Cystorelin, Estrumate, Estroplan, Factrel, Prostamate, Fertagyl, Insynch, and Ovacyst.
They may be administered by injection. About 17% of dairy cows in the United States are injected with Bovine somatotropin, also called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), or artificial growth hormone. The use of this hormone increases milk production from 11%–25%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that rBST is harmless to people.
The use of rBST is banned in Canada, parts of the European Union, as well as Australia and New Zealand. In Canada, Canadian Dairy farmers have high screening procedures they have to go through every time the milk is retrieved from the farm; if the regulations are not met the milk does not get loaded onto the truck for further processing. There is to be no medication or hormones in the milk for safety reasons  Nutrition Dairy cattle at feeding time Nutrition plays an important role in keeping cattle healthy and strong.
 Implementing an adequate nutrition program can also improve milk production and reproductive performance. Nutrient requirements may not be the same depending on the animal's age and stage of production. Forages, which refer especially to hay or straw, are the most common type of feed used. Cereal grains, as the main contributors of starch to diets, are important in meeting the energy needs of dairy cattle.
Barley is one example of grain that is extensively used around the world. Barley is grown in temperate to subarctic climates, and it is transported to those areas lacking the necessary amounts of grain. Although variations may occur, in general, barley is an excellent source of balanced amounts of protein, energy, and fiber. Ensuring adequate body fat reserves is essential for cattle to produce milk and also to keep reproductive efficiency.
However, if cattle get excessively fat or too thin, they run the risk of developing metabolic problems and may have problems with calving.Scientists have found that a variety of fat supplements can benefit conception rates of lactating dairy cows. Some of these different fats include oleic acids, found in canola oil, animal tallow, and yellow grease; palmitic acid found in granular fats and dry fats; and linolenic acids which are found in cottonseed, safflower, sunflower, and soybean.
 It is also important to note that proper levels of fat also improve cattle longevity. Using by-products is one way of reducing the normally high feed costs. However, lack of knowledge of their nutritional and economic value limits their use. Although the reduction of costs may be significant, they have to be used carefully because animal may have negative reactions to radical changes in feeds, (e.
g. fog fever). Such a change must then be made slowly and with the proper follow up. Pesticide use A survey of the primary dairy producing areas in the US indicated that 13 percent of lactating animals were treated with insecticides permethrin, pyrethrin, coumaphos, and dichlorvos primarily by daily or every-other-day coat sprays. Workers, particularly in stanchion barns, may be exposed to higher than recommended amounts of these pesticides.
 Breeds See also: List of dairy cattle breeds According to the Purebred Dairy Cattle Association, PDCA, there are 7 major dairy breeds in the United States. These are: Holstein, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Jersey, Red and White, and Milking Shorthorn. Holstein cows either have distinct white and black markings, or distinct red and white markings. Holstein cows are the biggest of all U.
S. dairy breeds. A full mature Holstein cow usually weighs around 1,500 pounds and is 58 inches tall at the shoulder. They are known for their outstanding milk production among the main breeds of dairy cattle. An average Holstein cow produces around 23,000 pounds of milk each lactation. Of the 9 million dairy cows in the U.S., approximately 90% of them are of the Holstein descent. The top breed of dairy cow within Canada's national herd category is Holstein, taking up 93% of the dairy cow population, have a production rate of 10 257 kg of milk per cow that contains 3.
9% butter fat and 3.2% protein Brown Swiss cows are widely accepted as the oldest dairy cattle breed, originally coming from a part of northeastern Switzerland. Some experts think that the modern Brown Swiss skeleton is similar to one found that looks to be from around the year 4000 B.C. Also, there is evidence that monks started breeding these cows about 1000 years ago. The Ayrshire breed first originated in the County of Ayr in Scotland.
It became regarded as a well established breed in 1812. The different breeds that were crossed to form the Ayrshire are not exactly known. However, there is evidence that several breeds were crossed with the native cattle to create the breed. Guernsey cows originated just off the coast of France on the small Isle of Guernsey. The breed was first known as a separate breed around 1700. Guernseys are known for their ability to produce very high quality milk from grass.
Also, the term "Golden Guernsey" is very common as Guernsey cattle produce rich, yellow milk rather than the standard white milk other cow breeds produce. The Jersey breed of dairy cow originated on a small island located off the coast of France called Jersey. Despite being one of the oldest breeds of dairy cattle they now only occupy 4% of the Canadian National Herd. Purebred Jersey cows, according to available data, have been in the UK area since about the year 1741.
When they were first bred in this area, they were not known as Jerseys, but rather as the related Alderneys. The period between 1860 and around 1914 was a popular time for Jerseys. In this time span, many countries other than the United States started importing this breed, including Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand, among others. Among the smallest of the dairy breeds, the average Jersey cow matures at approximately 6699 kg, with a typical weight range between 800 and 1,200 pounds.
According to North Dakota State University, the fat content of the Jersey cow's milk is 4.9 percent. It's also the highest in protein, at 3.8 percent. This high fat content means the milk is often used for making ice cream and cheeses. According to the American Jersey Cattle Association, Jerseys are found on 20 percent of all US dairy farms and are the primary breed in about 4 percent of dairies.
Amongst the Bos indicus, the most popular dairy breed in the world is Sahiwal of the Indian subcontinent. It does not give as much milk as the Taurine breeds, but it is by far the most suitable breed for warmer climates. Australian Friesian Sahiwal and Australian Milking Zebu have been developed in Australia using Sahiwal genetics. Gir, another of the Bos Indicus breeds, has been improved in Brazil for its milk production and is widely used there for dairy.
Animal welfare Animal welfare refers to both the physical and mental state of an animal, and how it is coping with its situation. An animal is considered in a good state of welfare if it is able to express its innate behaviour, comfortable, healthy, safe, well nourished, and is not suffering from negative states such as distress, fear and pain. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, and humane handling.
If said animal is slaughtered then it is no longer "good animal welfare".  Proper animal handling, or stockmanship, is crucial to dairy animals' welfare as well as the safety of their handlers. Improper handling techniques can stress cattle leading to impaired production and health, such as increased slipping injuries. Additionally, the majority of nonfatal worker injuries on a dairy farm are from interactions with cattle.
Dairy animals are handled on a daily basis for a wide variety of purposes including health-related management practices and movement from freestalls to the milking parlor. Due to the prevalence of human-animal interactions on dairy farms, researchers, veterinarians, and farmers alike have focused on furthering our understanding of stockmanship and educating agriculture workers. Stockmanship is a complex concept that involves the timing, positioning, speed, direction of movement, and sounds and touch of the handler.
A recent survey of Minnesota dairy farms revealed that 42.6% of workers learned stockmanship techniques from a family members, and 29.9% had participated in stockmanship training. However, as the growing U.S. dairy industry increasingly relies on an immigrant workforce, stockmanship training and education resources will become more pertinent. Clearly communicating and managing a large culturally diverse workforce brings new challenges such as language barriers and time limitations.
 Organizations like the Upper Midwest Agriculture Safety and Health Center (UMASH) offer resources such as bilingual training videos, fact sheets, and informational posters for dairy worker training. Additionally the Beef Quality Assurance Program offer seminars, live demonstrations, and online resources for stockmanship training. The practice of dairy production in a factory farm environment has been criticized by animal rights activists.
Some of the ethical reasons regarding dairy production cited include how often the dairy cattle are impregnated, the separation of calves from their mothers, and the fact that the cows are considered "spent" and culled at a relatively young age, as well as environmental concerns regarding dairy production. The production of milk requires that the cow be in lactation, which is a result of the cow having given birth to a calf.
The cycle of insemination, pregnancy, parturition, and lactation is followed by a "dry" period of about two months before calving, which allows udder tissue to regenerate. A dry period that falls outside this time frames can result in decreased milk production in subsequent lactation. Dairy operations therefore include both the production of milk and the production of calves. Bull calves are either castrated and raised as steers for beef production or veal.
Animal rights groups such as Mercy for Animals also raise welfare concerns by citing undercover footage showing abusive practices at factory farms. See also List of Dairy cattle breeds Estrous synchronization Fog fever Dairy cattle showmanship Meat industry References ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2012. ^ a b U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service (March 2009).
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McDonald et al., "Changes in the Size and Location of U.S. Dairy Farms Archived 1 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine.," Profits, Costs and the Changing Structure of Dairy Farming, ERR-47 Sept. 2007. ^ "Milk and Milk Products, UK Dairy Industry Archived 15 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine.," Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs 3 Sept 2010. ^ "New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2009-2010," Dairy NZ 2010.
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doi:10.1002/jsfa.3575. ^ Relaxing music stimulates a cow's lactation http://uselessk.com/knowledge/relaxing-music-stimulates-a-cow-39-s-lactation/42 ^ a b c d e f Vanhoudt, Van Winden, Fishwick, and Bell, 2015. Monitoring cow comfort and rumen health indices in a cubicle-housed herd with an automatic milking system: A repeated measures approach. Irish Veterinary Journal, 68(1), 368-762. ^ O'Connor, 1993.
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wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dairy_cattle&oldid=813779415"See Also: 2015 Chevy Traverse Oil Type
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"Dairy farm" redirects here. For the retail company in Asia, see Dairy Farm International Holdings. For a broader coverage related to this topic, see Dairy. A rotary milking parlor at a modern dairy facility, located in Germany Dairy farming is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk, which is processed (either on the farm or at a dairy plant, either of which may be called a dairy) for eventual sale of a dairy product.
Common species Although any mammal can produce milk, commercial dairy farms are typically one-species enterprises. In developed countries, dairy farms typically consist of high producing dairy cows. Other species used in commercial dairy farming include goats, sheep, and camels. In Italy, donkey dairies are growing in popularity to produce an alternative milk source for human infants. History Milking cattle in ancient Egypt While cattle were domesticated as early as 11,000 years ago as a food source and as beasts of burden, the earliest evidence of using domesticated cows for dairy production is the seventh millennium BC - the early Neolithic era - in northwestern Anatolia  .
Dairy farming developed elsewhere in the world in subsequent centuries: the sixth millennium BC in eastern Europe, the fifth millennium BC in Africa, and the fourth millennium BC in Britain and Northern Europe  . In the last century or so larger farms specialising in dairy alone have emerged. Large scale dairy farming is only viable where either a large amount of milk is required for production of more durable dairy products such as cheese, butter, etc.
or there is a substantial market of people with cash to buy milk, but no cows of their own. In the 1800s von Thünen argued that there was about a 100-mile radius surrounding a city where such fresh milk supply was economically viable. Hand milking Woman hand milking a cow. Centralized dairy farming as we understand it primarily developed around villages and cities, where residents were unable to have cows of their own due to a lack of grazing land.
Near the town, farmers could make some extra money on the side by having additional animals and selling the milk in town. The dairy farmers would fill barrels with milk in the morning and bring it to market on a wagon. Until the late 19th century, the milking of the cow was done by hand. In the United States, several large dairy operations existed in some northeastern states and in the west, that involved as many as several hundred cows, but an individual milker could not be expected to milk more than a dozen cows a day.
Smaller operations predominated. For most herds, milking took place indoors twice a day, in a barn with the cattle tied by the neck with ropes or held in place by stanchions. Feeding could occur simultaneously with milking in the barn, although most dairy cattle were pastured during the day between milkings. Such examples of this method of dairy farming are difficult to locate, but some are preserved as a historic site for a glimpse into the days gone by.
One such instance that is open for this is at Point Reyes National Seashore. Dairy farming has been part of agriculture for thousands of years. Historically it has been one part of small, diverse farms. In the last century or so larger farms doing only dairy production have emerged. Large scale dairy farming is only viable where either a large amount of milk is required for production of more durable dairy products such as cheese, butter, etc.
or there is a substantial market of people with cash to buy milk, but no cows of their own. Dairy farms were the best way to meet demand. Vacuum bucket milking Demonstration of a new Soviet milker device. East Germany, 1952 The first milking machines were an extension of the traditional milking pail. The early milker device fit on top of a regular milk pail and sat on the floor under the cow.
Following each cow being milked, the bucket would be dumped into a holding tank. These were introduced in the early 20th century. This developed into the Surge hanging milker. Prior to milking a cow, a large wide leather strap called a surcingle was put around the cow, across the cow's lower back. The milker device and collection tank hung underneath the cow from the strap. This innovation allowed the cow to move around naturally during the milking process rather than having to stand perfectly still over a bucket on the floor.
Milking pipeline Main article: milking pipeline The next innovation in automatic milking was the milk pipeline, introduced in the late 20th century. This uses a permanent milk-return pipe and a second vacuum pipe that encircles the barn or milking parlor above the rows of cows, with quick-seal entry ports above each cow. By eliminating the need for the milk container, the milking device shrank in size and weight to the point where it could hang under the cow, held up only by the sucking force of the milker nipples on the cow's udder.
The milk is pulled up into the milk-return pipe by the vacuum system, and then flows by gravity to the milkhouse vacuum-breaker that puts the milk in the storage tank. The pipeline system greatly reduced the physical labor of milking since the farmer no longer needed to carry around huge heavy buckets of milk from each cow. The pipeline allowed barn length to keep increasing and expanding, but after a point farmers started to milk the cows in large groups, filling the barn with one-half to one-third of the herd, milking the animals, and then emptying and refilling the barn.
As herd sizes continued to increase, this evolved into the more efficient milking parlor. Milking parlors Efficiency of four different milking parlors. 1=Bali-Style 50 cows/h. 2=Swingover 60 cows/h. 3=Herringbone 75 cows/h. 4=Rotary 250 cows/h. Innovation in milking focused on mechanizing the milking parlor (known in Australia and New Zealand as a milking shed) to maximize the number of cows per operator which streamlined the milking process to permit cows to be milked as if on an assembly line, and to reduce physical stresses on the farmer by putting the cows on a platform slightly above the person milking the cows to eliminate having to constantly bend over.
Many older and smaller farms still have tie-stall or stanchion barns, but worldwide a majority of commercial farms have parlors. Herringbone and parallel parlors In herringbone and parallel parlors, the milker generally milks one row at a time. The milker will move a row of cows from the holding yard into the milking parlor, and milk each cow in that row. Once all of the milking machines have been removed from the milked row, the milker releases the cows to their feed.
A new group of cows is then loaded into the now vacant side and the process repeats until all cows are milked. Depending on the size of the milking parlor, which normally is the bottleneck, these rows of cows can range from four to sixty at a time. The benefits of a herringbone parlour are easy maintenance, the durability, stability, and improved safety for animals and humans when compared to tie stall  Rotary parlors Rotary milking parlor In rotary parlors, the cows are loaded one at a time onto the platform as it rotates.
The milker stands near the entry to the parlor and puts the cups on the cows as they move past. By the time the platform has completed almost a full rotation, another milker or a machine removes the cups and the cow steps backwards off the platform and then walks to its feed. Rotary cowsheds, as they are called in New Zealand, started in the 1980s but are expensive compared to Herringbone cowshed - the older New Zealand norm.
 Automatic milker take-off It can be harmful to an animal for it to be over-milked past the point where the udder has stopped releasing milk. Consequently, the milking process involves not just applying the milker, but also monitoring the process to determine when the animal has been milked out and the milker should be removed. While parlor operations allowed a farmer to milk many more animals much more quickly, it also increased the number of animals to be monitored simultaneously by the farmer.
The automatic take-off system was developed to remove the milker from the cow when the milk flow reaches a preset level, relieving the farmer of the duties of carefully watching over 20 or more animals being milked at the same time. Fully automated robotic milking An automatic milking system unit as an exhibit at a museum Further information: Automatic milking In the 1980s and 1990s, robotic milking systems were developed and introduced (principally in the EU).
Thousands of these systems are now in routine operation. In these systems the cow has a high degree of autonomy to choose her time of milking freely during the day (some alternatives may apply, depending on cow-traffic solution used at a farm level). These systems are generally limited to intensively managed systems although research continues to match them to the requirements of grazing cattle and to develop sensors to detect animal health and fertility automatically.
Every time the cow enters the milking unit she is fed concentrates and her collar is scanned to record production data. History of milk preservation methods Cool temperature has been the main method by which milk freshness has been extended. When windmills and well pumps were invented, one of their first uses on the farm, besides providing water for animals themselves, was for cooling milk, to extend its storage life, until it would be transported to the town market.
The naturally cold underground water would be continuously pumped into a cooling tub or vat. Tall, ten-gallon metal containers filled with freshly obtained milk, which is naturally warm, were placed in this cooling bath. This method of milk cooling was popular before the arrival of electricity and refrigeration. Refrigeration When refrigeration first arrived (the 19th century) the equipment was initially used to cool cans of milk, which were filled by hand milking.
These cans were placed into a cooled water bath to remove heat and keep them cool until they were able to be transported to a collection facility. As more automated methods were developed for harvesting milk, hand milking was replaced and, as a result, the milk can was replaced by a bulk milk cooler. 'Ice banks' were the first type of bulk milk cooler. This was a double wall vessel with evaporator coils and water located between the walls at the bottom and sides of the tank.
A small refrigeration compressor was used to remove heat from the evaporator coils. Ice eventually builds up around the coils, until it reaches a thickness of about three inches surrounding each pipe, and the cooling system shuts off. When the milking operation starts, only the milk agitator and the water circulation pump, which flows water across the ice and the steel walls of the tank, are needed to reduce the incoming milk to a temperature below 5 degrees.
This cooling method worked well for smaller dairies, however was fairly inefficient and was unable to meet the increasingly higher cooling demand of larger milking parlors. In the mid-1950s direct expansion refrigeration was first applied directly to the bulk milk cooler. This type of cooling utilizes an evaporator built directly into the inner wall of the storage tank to remove heat from the milk.
Direct expansion is able to cool milk at a much faster rate than early ice bank type coolers and is still the primary method for bulk tank cooling today on small to medium-sized operations. Another device which has contributed significantly to milk quality is the plate heat exchanger (PHE). This device utilizes a number of specially designed stainless steel plates with small spaces between them. Milk is passed between every other set of plates with water being passed between the balance of the plates to remove heat from the milk.
This method of cooling can remove large amounts of heat from the milk in a very short time, thus drastically slowing bacteria growth and thereby improving milk quality. Ground water is the most common source of cooling medium for this device. Dairy cows consume approximately 3 gallons of water for every gallon of milk production and prefer to drink slightly warm water as opposed to cold ground water.
For this reason, PHE's can result in drastically improved milk quality, reduced operating costs for the dairymen by reducing the refrigeration load on his bulk milk cooler, and increased milk production by supplying the cows with a source of fresh warm water. Plate heat exchangers have also evolved as a result of the increase of dairy farm herd sizes in the United States. As a dairyman increases the size of his herd, he must also increase the capacity of his milking parlor in order to harvest the additional milk.
This increase in parlor sizes has resulted in tremendous increases in milk throughput and cooling demand. Today's larger farms produce milk at a rate which direct expansion refrigeration systems on bulk milk coolers cannot cool in a timely manner. PHE's are typically utilized in this instance to rapidly cool the milk to the desired temperature (or close to it) before it reaches the bulk milk tank.
Typically, ground water is still utilized to provide some initial cooling to bring the milk to between 55 and 70 °F (13 and 21 °C). A second (and sometimes third) section of the PHE is added to remove the remaining heat with a mixture of chilled pure water and propylene glycol. These chiller systems can be made to incorporate large evaporator surface areas and high chilled water flow rates to cool high flow rates of milk.
Milking operation Milking machines are held in place automatically by a vacuum system that draws the ambient air pressure down from 15 to 21 pounds per square inch (100 to 140 kPa) of vacuum. The vacuum is also used to lift milk vertically through small diameter hoses, into the receiving can. A milk lift pump draws the milk from the receiving can through large diameter stainless steel piping, through the plate cooler, then into a refrigerated bulk tank.
Milk is extracted from the cow's udder by flexible rubber sheaths known as liners or inflations that are surrounded by a rigid air chamber. A pulsating flow of ambient air and vacuum is applied to the inflation's air chamber during the milking process. When ambient air is allowed to enter the chamber, the vacuum inside the inflation causes the inflation to collapse around the cow's teat, squeezing the milk out of teat in a similar fashion as a baby calf's mouth massaging the teat.
When the vacuum is reapplied in the chamber the flexible rubber inflation relaxes and opens up, preparing for the next squeezing cycle. It takes the average cow three to five minutes to give her milk. Some cows are faster or slower. Slow-milking cows may take up to fifteen minutes to let down all their milk. Though milking speed is not related to the quality of milk produced by the cow, it does impact the management of the milking process.
Because most milkers milk cattle in groups, the milker can only process a group of cows at the speed of the slowest-milking cow. For this reason, many farmers will group slow-milking cows so as not to stress the faster milking cows. The extracted milk passes through a strainer and plate heat exchangers before entering the tank, where it can be stored safely for a few days at approximately 40 °F (4 °C).
At pre-arranged times, a milk truck arrives and pumps the milk from the tank for transport to a dairy factory where it will be pasteurized and processed into many products. The frequency of pick up depends and the production and storage capacity of the dairy; large dairies will have milk pick-ups once per day. Management of the herd The dairy industry is a constantly evolving business. Management practices change with new technology and regulations that move the industry toward increased economic and environmental sustainability.
Management strategies can also loosely be divided into intensive and extensive systems. Extensive systems operate based on a low input and low output philosophy, where intensive systems adopt a high input high output philosophy. These philosophies as well as available technologies, local regulations, and environmental conditions manifest in different management of nutrition, housing, health, reproduction and waste.
Most modern dairy farms divide the animals into different management units depending on their age, nutritional needs, reproductive status, and milk production status. The group of cows that are currently lactating, the milking herd, is often managed most intensively to make sure their diet and environmental conditions are conducive to producing as much high quality milk as possible. On some farms the milking herd is further divided into milking strings, which are groups of animals with different nutritional needs.
 The segment of the adult herd that are in the resting period before giving birth to their next calf are called dry cows because they are not being milked. All female animals that have yet to give birth to their first calf are called heifers. They will grow up to take the place of older animals in the milking herd and thus are sometimes generally referred to as the replacement herd. Housing Systems Dairy cattle housing systems vary greatly throughout the world depending on the climate, dairy size, and feeding strategies.
Housing must provide access to feed, water and protection from relevant environmental conditions. One obvious issue for humanely housing cattle is temperature extremes. Heat stress can decrease fertility and milk production in cattle. Providing shade is a very common method for reducing heat stress. Barns may also incorporate fans or tunnel ventilation into the architecture of the barn structure.
 Overly cold conditions, while rarely deadly for cattle, cause increases in maintenance energy requirements and thus increased feed intake and decreased milk production. During the winter months, where temperatures are low enough, dairy cattle are often kept inside barns which are warmed by their collective body heat. Feed provision is also an important feature of dairy housing. Pasture based dairies are a more extensive option where cows are turned out to graze on pasture when the weather permits.
Often the diet must be supplemented with when poor pasture conditions persist. Free stall barns and open lots are intensive housing options where feed is brought to the cattle at all times of year. Free stall barns are designed to allow the cows freedom to choose when they feed, rest, drink, or stand. They can be either fully enclosed or open air barns again depending on the climate. The resting areas, called free stalls, are divided beds lined with anything from mattresses to sand.
In the lanes between rows of stalls, the floor is often make of grooved concrete. Most barns open onto uncovered corrals, which the cattle are free to enjoy as the weather allows. Open lots are dirt lots with constructed shade structures and a concrete pad where feed is delivered. Milking Systems Life on a dairy farm revolves around the milking parlor. Each lactating cow will visit the parlor at least twice a day to be milked An incredible amount of engineering has gone into designing milking parlors, and milking machines.
Efficiency is crucial; every second saved while milking a single cow adds up to hours over the whole herd. Milking Machines Milking is now performed almost exclusively by machine, though human technicians are still essential on most facilities. The most common milking machine is called a cluster milker. This milker consists of four metal cups—one per teat—each lined with rubber or silicon. The cluster is attached to both a milk collection system and a pulsating vacuum system.
When the vacuum is on, it pulls air from between the outer metal cup and the liner, drawing milk out of the teat. When the vacuum turns off, it gives the teat an opportunity to refill with milk. In most milking systems, a milking technician must attach the cluster to each cow, but the machine senses when the cow has been fully milked and drops off independently. Milking Routine Every time a cow enters the parlor several things need to happen to ensure milk quality and cow health.
First, the cow’s udder must be cleaned and disinfected to prevent both milk contamination and udder infections. Then the milking technician must check each teat for signs of infection by observing the first stream of milk. During this processes, called stripping the teat, the milking technician is looking for any discoloration or chunkiness that would indicate mastitis, an infection in the cow’s mammary gland.
Milk from a cow with mastitis cannot enter the human milk supply, thus farmers must be careful that infected milk does not mix with the milk from healthy cows and that the cow gets the necessary treatment. If the cow passes the mastitis inspection, the milking technician will attach the milking cluster. The cluster will run until the cow is fully milked and then drop off. The milk travels immediately through a cooling system and then into a large cooled storage tank, where it will stay until picked up by a refrigerated milk truck.
Before the cow is released from the milking stalls her teats are disinfected one last time to prevent infection. Nutritional Management Feed for their cattle is by far one of the largest expenses for dairy producer whether it be provided by the land they graze or crops grown or purchased. Pasture based dairy producers invest much time and effort into maintaining their pastures and thus feed for their cattle.
Pasture management techniques such as rotational grazing are common for dairy production. Many large dairies that deliver food to their cattle have a dedicated nutritionist who is responsible for formulating diets with animal health, milk production, and cost efficiency in mind. For maximum productivity diets must be formulated differently depending on the growth rate, milk production, and reproductive status of each animal.
Cattle are classified as ruminants because of the amazing construction of their digestive tract. Their symbiotic relationship with the microbes that occupy the fermentation chamber in their stomach, the rumen, allows them to survive on incredibly low quality feed. The rumen is a micro-ecosystem within each dairy cow. For optimal digestion, the environment of the rumen must be ideal for the microbes.
In this way, the job of a ruminant nutritionist is to feed the microbes not the cow. The nutritional requirements of cattle are usually divided into maintenance requirements, which depend on the cow’s weight; and milk production requirements, which in turn depend on the volume of milk the cow is producing. The nutritional contents of each available feed are used to formulate a diet that meets all nutritional needs in the most cost effective way.
Notably, cattle must be fed a diet high in fiber to maintain a proper environment for the rumen microbes. Farmers typically grow their own forage for their cattle. Crops grown may include corn, alfalfa, timothy, wheat, oats, sorghum and clover. These plants are often processed after harvest to preserve or improve nutrient value and prevent spoiling. Corn, alfalfa, wheat, oats, and sorghum crops are often anaerobically fermented to create silage.
Many crops such as alfalfa, timothy, oats, and clover are allowed to dry in the field after cutting before being baled into hay. To increase the energy density of their diet, cattle are commonly fed cereal grains. In many areas of the world, dairy rations also commonly include byproducts from other agricultural sectors. For example, in California cattle are commonly fed almond hulls and cotton seed.
 Feeding of byproducts can reduce the environmental impact of other agricultural sectors by keeping these materials out of landfills. To meet all of their nutritional requirements cows must eat their entire ration. Unfortunately, much like humans, cattle have their favorite foods. To keep cattle from selectively eating the most desirable parts of the diet, most produces feed a total mixed ration (TMR).
In this system all the components of the feed are well mixed in a mixing truck before being delivered to the cattle. Different TMRs are often prepared for groups of cows with different nutritional requirements. Reproductive Management Female calves born on a dairy farm will typically be raised as replacement stock to take the place of older cows that are no longer sufficiently productive. The life of a dairy cow is a cycle of pregnancy and lactation starting at puberty.
Obviously the timing of these events is very important to the production capacity of the dairy. A cow will not produce milk until she has given birth to a calf. Consequently, timing of the first breeding as well as all the subsequent breeding is important for maintaining milk production levels. Puberty and First Breeding Most dairy producers aim for a replacement heifer to give birth to her first calf, and thus join the milking herd, on her second birthday.
As the cow’s gestation period is a little over 9 months this means the cow must be inseminated by the age of 15 months. Because the breeding process is inefficient, most producers aim to first breed their heifers between 12–14 months. Before a heifer can be bred she must reach sexual maturity and attain the proper body condition to successfully bear a calf. Puberty in cattle depends largely on weight among other factors.
 Holstein heifers reach puberty at an average body weight between 550 and 650 lbs. Smaller breeds of cattle, such as Jerseys, usually reach puberty earlier at a lighter weight. Under typical nutritional conditions, Holstein heifers will reach puberty at the age 9–10 months. Proper body condition for breeding is also largely judged by weight. At about 800lbs Holstein heifers will normally be able to carry a healthy calf and give birth with relative ease.
 In this way, the heifers will be able to give birth and join the milking herd before their second birthday. Estrous Cycle Puberty coincides with the beginning of estrous cycles. Estrous cycles are the recurring hormonal and physiological changes that occur within the bodies of most mammalian females that lead to ovulation and the development of a suitable environment for embryonic and fetal growth.
The cow is considered polyestrous, which means that she will continue to undergo regular estrous cycles until death unless the cycle is interrupted by a pregnancy. In cows, a complete estrous cycle lasts 21 days. Most commonly, dairy producers discuss the estrous cycle as beginning when the cow is receptive to breeding. This short phase lasting only about a day is also known as estrus or colloquially, heat.
The cow will often exhibit several behavioral changes during this phase including increased activity and vocalizations. Most importantly, during estrus she will stand still when mounted by another cow or bull. Mating and Pregnancy In the United States, artificial insemination (AI) is a very important reproductive tool used on dairy facilities. AI, is the process by which sperm is deliberately delivered by dairy managers or veterinarians into the cow’s uterus.
Bulls “donate” semen at a stud farm but there is never any physical contact between the cow and the bull when using this method. This method of insemination quickly gained popularity among dairy producers for several reasons. Dairy bulls are notoriously dangerous to keep on the average dairy facility. AI also makes it possible to speed the genetic improvement of the dairy herd because every dairy farmer has access to sperm from genetically superior sires.
Additionally, AI has been shown to reduce spread of venereal diseases within herd that would ultimately lead to fertility problems. Many producers also find it to be more economical than keeping a bull. On the other hand, AI does require more intensive reproductive management of the herd as well as more time and expertise. Detection of estrus, becomes reliant on observation in the absence of bulls.
It takes considerable expertise to properly inseminate a cow and high quality sperm is valuable. Ultimately, because dairy production was already a management intensive industry the disadvantages are dwarfed by the advantages of the AI for many dairy producers. The majority of cows carry a single calf. Pregnancy lasts an average of 280 to 285 days or a little less than 9 and one half months. Lactation Management After the birth of a calf the cow begins to lactate.
Lactation will normally continue for as long as the cow is milked but production will steadily decline. Dairy farmers are extremely familiar with the pattern of milk production and carefully time the cow’s next breeding to maximize milk production. The pattern of lactation and pregnancy is known as the lactation cycle. For a period of 20 days post parturition the cow is called a fresh cow. Milk production quickly increases during this phase but milk composition is also significantly different from the rest of the cycle.
This first milk, called colostrum, is rich in fats, protein, and also maternal immune cells. This colostrum is not usually commercially sold, but is extremely important for early calf nutrition. Perhaps most importantly, it conveys passive immunity to the calf before its immune system is fully developed. The next 30 to 60 days of the lactation cycle is characterized by peak milk production levels.
The amount of milk produced per day during this period varies considerably by breed and by individual cow depending on her body condition, genetics, health, and nutrition. During this period the body condition of the cow will suffer because the cow will draw on her body stores to maintain such high milk production. Food intake of the cow also will increase. After peak lactation, the cow’s milk production levels will slowly decline for the rest of the lactation cycle.
The producer will often breed the cow soon after she leaves peak production. For a while, the cow’s food intake will remain high before also beginning a decline to pre lactation levels. After peak milk production her body condition will also steadily recover. Producers will typically continue to milk the cow until she is two months away from parturition then they will dry her off. Giving the cow a break during the final stages of pregnancy allows her mammary gland to regress and re-develop, her body condition to recover, and the calf to develop normally.
Decreased body condition in the cow means she will not be as productive in subsequent milk cycles. Decreased health in the new born calf will negatively impact the quality of the replacement herd. There is also evidence that increased rates of mammary cell proliferation occur during the dry period that is essential to maintaining high production levels in subsequent lactation cycles. Concerns Animal waste from large cattle dairies Dairy CAFO—EPA As measured in phosphorus, the waste output of 5,000 cows roughly equals a municipality of 70,000 people.
 In the U.S., dairy operations with more than 1,000 cows meet the EPA definition of a CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), and are subject to EPA regulations. For example, in the San Joaquin Valley of California a number of dairies have been established on a very large scale. Each dairy consists of several modern milking parlor set-ups operated as a single enterprise. Each milking parlor is surrounded by a set of 3 or 4 loafing barns housing 1,500 or 2,000 cattle.
Some of the larger dairies have planned 10 or more series of loafing barns and milking parlors in this arrangement, so that the total operation may include as many as 15,000 or 20,000 cows. The milking process for these dairies is similar to a smaller dairy with a single milking parlor but repeated several times. The size and concentration of cattle creates major environmental issues associated with manure handling and disposal, which requires substantial areas of cropland (a ratio of 5 or 6 cows to the acre, or several thousand acres for dairies of this size) for manure spreading and dispersion, or several-acre methane digesters.
Air pollution from methane gas associated with manure management also is a major concern. As a result, proposals to develop dairies of this size can be controversial and provoke substantial opposition from environmentalists including the Sierra Club and local activists. The potential impact of large dairies was demonstrated when a massive manure spill occurred on a 5,000-cow dairy in Upstate New York, contaminating a 20-mile (32 km) stretch of the Black River, and killing 375,000 fish.
On 10 August 2005, a manure storage lagoon collapsed releasing 3,000,000 US gallons (11,000,000 l; 2,500,000 imp gal) of manure into the Black River. Subsequently, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation mandated a settlement package of $2.2 million against the dairy. When properly managed, dairy and other livestock waste, due to its nutrient content (N, P, K), makes an excellent fertilizer promoting crop growth, increasing soil organic matter, and improving overall soil fertility and tilth characteristics.
Most dairy farms in the United States are required to develop nutrient management plans for their farms, to help balance the flow of nutrients and reduce the risks of environmental pollution. These plans encourage producers to monitor all nutrients coming onto the farm as feed, forage, animals, fertilizer, etc. and all nutrients exiting the farm as product, crop, animals, manure, etc. For example, a precision approach to animal feeding results in less overfeeding of nutrients and a subsequent decrease in environmental excretion of nutrients, such as phosphorus.
In recent years, nutritionists have realized that requirements for phosphorus are much lower than previously thought. These changes have allowed dairy producers to reduce the amount of phosphorus being fed to their cows with a reduction in environmental pollution. Use of hormones Further information: Bovine somatotropin It is possible to maintain higher milk production by supplementing cows with growth hormones known as recombinant BST or rBST, but this is controversial due to its effects on animal and possibly human health.
The European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have banned its use due to these concerns. In the US however, no such prohibition exists, and approximately 17.2% of dairy cows are treated in this way. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that no "significant difference" has been found between milk from treated and non-treated cows but based on consumer concerns several milk purchasers and resellers have elected not to purchase milk produced with rBST.
 Animal welfare The practice of dairy production in a factory farm environment has been criticized by animal welfare activists. Some of the ethical complaints regarding dairy production cited include how often the dairy cattle must remain pregnant, the separation of calves from their mothers, how dairy cattle are housed and environmental concerns regarding dairy production.
The production of milk requires that the cow be in lactation, which is a result of the cow having given birth to a calf. The cycle of insemination, pregnancy, parturition, and lactation, followed by a "dry" period of about two months of forty-five to fifty days, before calving which allows udder tissue to regenerate. A dry period that falls outside this time frame can result in decreased milk production in subsequent lactation.
 An important part of the dairy industry is the removal of the calves off the mother’s milk after the three days of needed colostrum, allowing for the collection of the milk produced. On some dairies, in order for this to take place, the calves are fed milk replacer, a substitute for the whole milk produced by the cow. Milk replacer is generally a powder, which comes in large bags, and is added to precise amounts of water, and then fed to the calf via bucket or bottle.
However, not all dairies use milk replacer - some continue to feed calves milk from the cows in the milking herd. Some dairies even pasteurize extra milk from the main herd to feed calves. Milk replacers are classified by three categories: protein source, protein/fat (energy) levels, and medication or additives (e.g. vitamins and minerals). Proteins for the milk replacer come from different sources; the more favorable and more expensive all milk protein (e.
g. whey protein- a by-product of the cheese industry) and alternative proteins including soy, animal plasma and wheat gluten. The ideal levels for fat and protein in milk replacer are 10-28% and 18-30%, respectively. The higher the energy levels (fat and protein), the less starter feed (feed which is given to young animals) the animal will consume. Weaning can take place when a calf is consuming at least two pounds of starter feed a day and has been on starter for at least three weeks.
 Milk replacer has climbed in cost US$15–20 a bag in recent years, so early weaning is economically crucial to effective calf management. Because of the danger of infection to humans, it is important to maintain the health of milk-producing cattle. Common ailments affecting dairy cows include infectious disease (e.g. mastitis, endometritis and digital dermatitis), metabolic disease (e.g. milk fever and ketosis) and injuries caused by their environment (e.
g. hoof and hock lesions). Lameness is commonly considered one of the most significant animal welfare issues for dairy cattle, and is best defined as any abnormality that causes an animal to change its gait. It can be caused by a number of sources, including infections of the hoof tissue (e.g. fungal infections that cause dermatitis) and physical damage causing bruising or lesions (e.
g. ulcers or hemorrhage of the hoof). Housing and management features common in modern dairy farms (such as concrete barn floors, limited access to pasture and suboptimal bed-stall design) have been identified as contributing risk factors to infections and injuries. New dairy farms being built now include non-slip flooring and other features designed to minimize risk to cows when moving between pens and to the milking parlor.
Market Worldwide Holstein cows on a dairy farm, Comboyne, New South Wales Dairy farm in Võru Parish, Estonia There is a great deal of variation in the pattern of dairy production worldwide. Many countries which are large producers consume most of this internally, while others (in particular New Zealand), export a large percentage of their production. Internal consumption is often in the form of liquid milk, while the bulk of international trade is in processed dairy products such as milk powder.
The milking of cows was traditionally a labor-intensive operation and still is in less developed countries. Small farms need several people to milk and care for only a few dozen cows, though for many farms these employees have traditionally been the children of the farm family, giving rise to the term "family farm". Advances in technology have mostly led to the radical redefinition of "family farms" in industrialized countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
With farms of hundreds of cows producing large volumes of milk, the larger and more efficient dairy farms are more able to weather severe changes in milk price and operate profitably, while "traditional" family farms generally do not have the equity or income other larger scale farms do. The common public perception of large corporate farms supplanting smaller ones is generally a misconception, as many small family farms expand to take advantage of economies of scale, and incorporate the business to limit the legal liabilities of the owners and simplify such things as tax management.
Before large scale mechanization arrived in the 1950s, keeping a dozen milk cows for the sale of milk was profitable. Now most dairies must have more than one hundred cows being milked at a time in order to be profitable, with other cows and heifers waiting to be "freshened" to join the milking herd. In New Zealand the average herd size, for the 2009/2010 season, is 376 cows. Worldwide, the largest milk producer is India (more than 55% buffalo milk), the largest cow milk exporter is New Zealand, and the largest importer is China.
 The European Union with its present 28 member countries produced 158,800,000 metric tons (156,300,000 long tons; 175,000,000 short tons) in 2013(96.8% cow milk), the most by any politico-economic union. Supply management In Canada the dairy industry a system was put in by the Canadian Dairy Commission that is responsible for maintaining a stable market and line of employment for farmers by using a Supply Management System.
This system was put into play in the early 1970s for a consistent pricing of milk for farmers, ensuring no fluctuation in the market  The prices are based on the demand for milk throughout the country and how much is being produced. The Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee is in charge of monitoring the production rates of milk. In order to start a new farm or increase production more share into the SMS needs to be bought into known as “Quota”.
Quota is a fixed amount that an individual or group are bound to produce or receive. in this case farmers must remain up to or below the amount of “quota” they have bought share of. Each province in Canada has their own cap on quota based on the demand in the market  There is a cap on the countries quota known as total quota per month. In the month of 2016 the total kgs of butter fat produced per month was 28,395,848  World total milk production in 2009FAO statistics (including cow/buffalo/goat/sheep/camel milk) Rank Country Production (106 kg/y) World 696,554 1 India 110,040 2 United States 85,859 3 China 40,553 4 Pakistan 34,362 5 Russia 32,562 6 Germany 28,691 7 Brazil 27,716 8 France 24,218 9 New Zealand 15,217 10 United Kingdom 13,237 11 Italy 12,836 12 Turkey 12,542 13 Poland 12,467 14 Ukraine 11,610 15 Netherlands 11,469 16 Mexico 10,931 17 Argentina 10,500 18 Australia 9,388 19 Canada 8,213 20 Japan 7,909 European Union Production building at a dairy farm in Norway.
The European Union with its present 27 member countries is the largest milk producer in the world. The largest producers within the EU are Germany and France. Dairy production in the EU is heavily distorted due to the Common Agricultural Policy – being subsidized in some areas, and subject to production quotas in other. European total milk production in 2009FAO statistics (including cow/goat/sheep/buffalo milk) Rank Country Production (106 kg/y) European Union (all 27 countries) 153,033 1 Germany 28,691 2 France 24,218 3 United Kingdom 13,237 4 Italy 12,836 5 Poland 12,467 6 Netherlands 11,469 7 Spain 7,252 8 Romania 5,809 9 Ireland 5.
373 10 Denmark 4,814 Israel The dairy farm on Sa'ad was the Israeli leader in 2011 for productivity with an average of 13,785 litres (3,032 imp gal; 3,642 US gal) per head that year. A dairy cow named Kharta, was the world record holder giving 18,208 litres (4,005 imp gal; 4,810 US gal) liters of milk. The 954 Israeli dairy farms achieved a world leading average production of 11,775 litres (2,590 imp gal; 3,111 US gal) a year per head, while the national average per head was 10,336 litres (2,274 imp gal; 2,730 US gal).
Israeli consumption is lower than other western countries with an average of 180 litres (40 imp gal; 48 US gal) per person. United States In the United States, the top five dairy states are, in order by total milk production; California,Wisconsin, New York, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. Dairy farming is also an important industry in Florida, Minnesota, Ohio and Vermont. There are 65,000 dairy farms in the United States.
 Cow Milk Production by State in 2016 Pennsylvania has 8,500 farms with 555,000 dairy cows. Milk produced in Pennsylvania yields an annual revenue of about US$1.5 billion. Milk prices collapsed in 2009. Senator Bernie Sanders accused Dean Foods of controlling 40% of the country's milk market. He has requested the United States Department of Justice to pursue an anti-trust investigation.
 Dean Foods says it buys 15% of the country's raw milk. In 2011, a federal judge approved a settlement of $30 million to 9,000 farmers in the Northeast. Herd size in the US varies between 1,200 on the West Coast and Southwest, where large farms are commonplace, to roughly 50 in the Midwest and Northeast, where land-base is a significant limiting factor to herd size. The average herd size in the U.
S. is about one hundred cows per farm but the median size is 900 cows with 49% of all cows residing on farms of 1000 or more cows. See also Alfa Laval Animal husbandry Camel milk Dairy cattle Dairy products Factory farming Family farm List of dairy products Managed intensive grazing Ubre Blanca, a record milk-producing cow Veal References ^ McLean, Amy. "Donkey milk for human health?". Tri-State Livestock News.
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Retrieved 24 March 2015. External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dairy farming. Global milk production and consumption (ChartsBin visualizations) World milk production 1980–2003 (FAO diagram) Respiratory hazards in dairy and beef farming by D Sewell and others. Institute of Occupational Medicine Research Report TM/95/06 Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service v t e Agriculture General Agribusiness Agricultural supplies Agricultural science Agricultural engineering Agroforestry Agronomy Animal husbandry Animal-free agriculture Extensive farming Farm Free range Intensive farming Intensive animal farming Mechanised agriculture Organic farming Permaculture Sustainable agriculture Universities and colleges Urban agriculture History Prehistoric Neolithic Revolution Agriculture in Mesoamerica Ancient Ancient Egypt Ancient Greece Ancient Rome Medieval Arab Agricultural Revolution Modern British Agricultural Revolution Green Revolution Organic Types Aquaculture Cattle Dairy farming Goat farming Grazing Hydroponics Livestock Pig farming Orchards Poultry farming Sheep farming Categories Agriculture by country Agriculture companies Biotechnology Livestock Meat industry Poultry farming Category Portal Wikiproject Authority control GND: 4074793-1 Retrieved from "https://en.