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Dairy farming is a class of
agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

agriculture
for long-term production of
milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attributes * Chemical substance, a material with a definite chemical composition * Matter, any ...

milk
, which is processed (either on the
farm A farm (also called an agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases i ...

farm
or at a dairy plant, either of which may be called a
dairy A dairy is a business enterprise Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling Product (business), products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise enter ...

dairy
) for eventual sale of a
dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as ...
. Dairy farming has a history that goes back to the early
Neolithic era The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
, around the seventh millennium BC, in many regions of Europe and Africa. Before the 20th century, milking was done by hand on small farms. Beginning in the early 20th century, milking was done in large scale dairy farms with innovations including rotary parlors, the
milking pipeline A milking pipeline or milk pipeline is a component of a dairy farm animal-milking operation which is used to transfer milk from the animals to a cooling and storage bulk tank. Setup In small dairy farms with less than 100 cows, goats or sheep, the ...
, and automatic milking systems that were commercially developed in the early 1990s. Milk preservation methods have improved starting with the arrival of
refrigeration The term refrigeration means cooling Cooling is removal of heat, usually resulting in a lower temperature and/or phase change. Temperature lowering achieved by any other means may also be called cooling.ASHRAE Terminology, https://www.ashrae.org/ ...

refrigeration
technology in the late 19th century, which included direct expansion refrigeration and the plate heat exchanger. These cooling methods allowed dairy farms to preserve milk by reducing spoiling due to
bacterial growth 250px, Growth is shown as ''L'' = log(numbers) where numbers is the number of colony forming units per ml, versus ''T'' (time.) Bacterial growth is proliferation of bacterium Bacteria (; common noun bacteria, singular bacterium) are a typ ...

bacterial growth
and
humidity Humidity is the concentration of water vapor, water vapour present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Humidity indicates the likelihood for precipitation (meteorology), precipitation, d ...

humidity
. Worldwide, leading dairy industries in many countries including
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
, the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
, and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
serve as important producers, exporters, and importers of milk. Since the late 20th century, there has generally been an increase in total milk production worldwide, with around 827,884,000 tonnes of milk being produced in 2017 according to the
FAO The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency ...

FAO
. There has been substantial concern over the amount of waste output created by dairy industries, seen through
manure Manure is organic matter Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of Carbon compounds, carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. It is m ...

manure
disposal and
air pollution Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other Outline of life forms, living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, ...

air pollution
caused by
methane gas Methane (, ) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula (one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). It is a group-14 hydride, the simplest alkane, and the main constituent of natural gas. The relative abundance of methane on Earth ...
. The industry's role in agricultural
greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities strengthen the greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without ...
has also been noted to implicate environmental consequences. Various measures have been put in place in order to control the amount of
phosphorus Phosphorus is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical el ...

phosphorus
excreted by dairy
livestock Livestock are the domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictabl ...
. The usage of rBST has also been controversial. Dairy farming in general has been criticized by
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as ...
activists due to the health issues imposed upon
dairy cows Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are female cattle 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 distinct ...
through
intensive animal farming In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for form ...
.


Common types

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 cow Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms as ...

dairy cow
s. Other species used in commercial dairy farming include
goat The domestic goat or simply goat (''Capra hircus'') is a domesticated species of typically kept as . It was from the (''C. aegagrus'') of and . The goat is a member of the animal family and the subfamily , meaning it is closely related ...
s,
sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadrupedal, ruminant mammals typically kept as livestock. Like all ruminants, sheep are members of the order (biology), order Artiodactyla, the even-toed ungulates. Although the name ''sheep'' applies to many species ...
,
water buffalo The water buffalo (''Bubalus bubalis''), also called the domestic water buffalo or Asian water buffalo, is a large bovid The Bovidae comprise the biological family Family ( la, familia, plural ') is one of the eight major hierarchical tax ...

water buffalo
es, and
camels A camel is an even-toed ungulate in the genus ''Camelus'' that bears distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back. Camels have long been domesticated and, as livestock, they provide food (camel milk, milk and meat) and textiles (fiber ...

camels
. In
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
,
donkey The donkey or ass is a domestic animal This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of domestication of animals, animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an exten ...
dairies are growing in popularity to produce an alternative milk source for human infants.


History

While cattle were domesticated as early as 12,000 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 Cheese is a dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and conta ...

cheese
, butter, etc. or there is a substantial market of people with money to buy milk, but no cows of their own. In the 1800s argued that there was about a 100-mile radius surrounding a city where such fresh milk supply was economically viable.


Hand milking

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 The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

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 A barn is an agricultural building usually on farm A farm (also called an agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Fami ...

barn
with the cattle tied by the neck with ropes or held in place by
stanchion A stanchion () is a sturdy upright fixture that provides support for some other object. It can be a permanent fixture. Types In architecture upright=1.45, alt=Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503 ...
s. 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 Point Reyes (re-ʝes) is a prominent cape A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood ...

Point Reyes
National Seashore The United States has ten protected areas known as national seashores and three known as national lakeshores, which are public lands operated by the National Park Service (NPS), an agency of the United States Department of the Interior, Departmen ...

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 concentrating on dairy production 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

The first
milking machine Image:Hand milking.jpg, upHand milking Milking is the act of removing milk from the mammary glands of cattle, water buffalo, humans, goats, sheep, and, more rarely, camels, horses and donkeys. Milking may be done by hand or by machine, and require ...
s 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 Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of arti ...

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

The next innovation in
automatic milking Automatic milking is the milking of dairy animals, especially of dairy cattle, without human labour. Automatic milking systems (AMS), also called voluntary milking systems (VMS), were developed in the late 20th century. They have been commercially ...
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 An udder is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tiss ...
. 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 Pipeline may refer to: Electronics, computers and computing * Pipeline (computing), a chain of data-processing stages or a CPU optimization found on ** Instruction pipelining, a technique for implementing instruction-level parallelism within a si ...
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

Innovation in milking focused on mechanizing the milking parlor (known in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

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 s 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 The first herringbone shed is thought to have been built in 1952 by a Gordonton farmer.


Rotary parlors

In rotary parlors, the cows are loaded one at a time onto the parlor as the whole thing rotates in a circle. One milker stands near the entry to the parlor and pre-dips the teats on the udder to help prevent bacteria from entering. The next milker puts the machine on the cow to begin milking. By the time the platform has completed almost a full rotation, the cow is done milking and the unit will come off automatically. The last milker will post-dip her teats to protect them before entering back into the pen. Once this process is done, the cow will back out of the parlor and return to the barn. 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

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
windmill A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes called windmill sail, sails or blades, specifically to mill (grinding), mill grain (gristmills), but the term is also extended to windpumps, wind turbine ...

windmill
s 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 Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
. 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 Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
and
refrigeration The term refrigeration means cooling Cooling is removal of heat, usually resulting in a lower temperature and/or phase change. Temperature lowering achieved by any other means may also be called cooling.ASHRAE Terminology, https://www.ashrae.org/ ...

refrigeration
.


Refrigeration

When
refrigeration The term refrigeration means cooling Cooling is removal of heat, usually resulting in a lower temperature and/or phase change. Temperature lowering achieved by any other means may also be called cooling.ASHRAE Terminology, https://www.ashrae.org/ ...

refrigeration
first 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 collect facilities. As more automated methods were developed for eating 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 . 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 Propylene glycol (IUPAC name In chemical nomenclatureA chemical nomenclature is a set of rules to generate systematic names for chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecu ...
. 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 machine Image:Hand milking.jpg, upHand milking Milking is the act of removing milk from the mammary glands of cattle, water buffalo, humans, goats, sheep, and, more rarely, camels, horses and donkeys. Milking may be done by hand or by machine, and require ...

Milking machine
s are held in place automatically by a vacuum system that draws the ambient air pressure down from 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 Bulk can refer to: Industry * Bulk cargo Bulk cargo is commodity In economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (economics), production, distribution (eco ...
. 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 exchanger A heat exchanger is a system used to transfer heat between two or more fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external force. Fluids are a Phase (m ...

heat exchanger
s before entering the tank, where it can be stored safely for a few days at approximately . 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 Pasteurization or pasteurisation is a process in which packaged and non-packaged foods (such as milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary gland A mammary gland is an exocrine gland in humans and other mammal ...
and processed into many s. 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 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 silicone. 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.Schmidt, G. H., Van Vleck, L. D., & Hutjens, M. F. (1988). Principles of Dairy Science (2nd Edition). Englewook Cliffs: Prentice Hall.


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 An udder is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tiss ...
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 Mastitis is inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, ...

mastitis
, an infection in the cow's
mammary gland A mammary gland is an exocrine gland Exocrine glands are gland In animals, a gland is a group of cells in an animal's body that synthesizes substances (such as hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any m ...
. 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 In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated speci ...
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 Ruminants (suborder In biological classification, the order ( la, wikt:ordo#Latin, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. The well-known ranks in descending order are: life, ...
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 The rumen, also known as a paunch, is the largest stomach compartment in ruminants and the larger part of the reticulorumen, which is the first chamber in the alimentary canal of ruminant animals. The rumen's microbial favoring environment allows ...
, 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 Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of the Americas, indige ...

corn
,
alfalfa Alfalfa () (''Medicago sativa''), also called lucerne, is a perennial A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingdom (biology), kingdom Plantae. Historically, the ...

alfalfa
, timothy,
wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown is common wheat Common wheat (''Triticum aestivum'' ...

wheat
,
oat The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a of grown for its seed, which is known by the same name (usually in the plural, unlike other cereals and ). While oats are suitable for human consumption as and , one of the m ...
s,
sorghum ''Sorghum'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circum ...

sorghum
and
clover Clover or trefoil are common names for plants of the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...

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 Silage () is a type of fodder Fodder (), also called provender (), is any agricultural Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary ...
. Many crops such as alfalfa, timothy, oats, and clover are allowed to dry in the field after cutting before being baled into
hay Hay is grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or ...

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 Total mixed ration (TMR) is a method of feeding dairy cattle Cattle, or cows (female) and bulls (male), are the most common type of large domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of orga ...
(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. 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 and 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.
Peters, A., & Ball, P. (2004b). Reproduction in cattle. (3rd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.


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 The estrous cycle (, originally ) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormone A hormone (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...

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 The estrous cycle (, originally ) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormone A hormone (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
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.Vishwanath, R. (2003). Artificial insemination: the state of the art. Theriogenology, 59, 571–584. 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 Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multipl ...
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 The estrous cycle (, originally ) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormone A hormone (from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλ ...
, 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 Lactation describes the secretion of milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals (including breastfeeding, breastfed human infants) before they a ...

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

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 The San Joaquin Valley ( ) is the area of the Central Valley of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic ter ...
of
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

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 Manure is organic matter Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of Carbon compounds, carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. It is m ...

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 Air pollution is the presence of substances in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other Outline of life forms, living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. There are different types of air pollutants, ...

Air pollution
from
methane gas Methane (, ) is a chemical compound with the chemical formula (one carbon atom bonded to four hydrogen atoms). It is a group-14 hydride, the simplest alkane, and the main constituent of natural gas. The relative abundance of methane on Earth ...
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 Image:Voynet Montreuil 2008-01-06.jpg, Dominique Voynet, 2008 An environmentalist is a person who is concerned with and/or advocates for the protection of the environment. An environmentalist can be considered a supporter of the goals of the envir ...
including the
Sierra Club The Sierra Club is an environmental organization An environmental organization is an organization coming out of the Conservation movement, conservation or environmental movements that seeks to protect, analyse or monitor the environment against m ...
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 stretch of the Black River, and killing 375,000 fish. On 10 August 2005, a manure storage lagoon collapsed releasing 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 (), makes an excellent fertilizer promoting crop growth, increasing
soil organic matter Soil organic matter (SOM) is the organic matter Organic matter, organic material, or natural organic matter refers to the large source of Carbon compounds, carbon-based compounds found within natural and engineered, terrestrial, and aquatic envi ...
, and improving overall soil fertility and
tilth Soil tilth is a physical condition of soil, especially in relation to its suitability for planting or growing a crop. Factors that determine tilth include the formation and stability of aggregated soil particles, moisture content, degree of aerati ...
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 Forage is a plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, se ...

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

It is possible to maintain higher milk production by supplementing cows with
growth hormone Growth hormone (GH) or somatotropin, also known as human growth hormone (hGH or HGH) in its human form, is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell (biology), cell reproduction, and cell regeneration in humans and other animals. It is th ...
s 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, but rBST is not used on dairy farms. Most dairy processors, if not all, will not accept milk with rBST. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration The United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, st ...
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 A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization ...
environment has been criticized by
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as ...
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 Lactation describes the secretion of milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals (including breastfeeding, breastfed human infants) before they a ...

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 Colostrum (known colloquially as beestings, bisnings or first milk) is the first form of milk Milk is a nutrient A nutrient is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner ...

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, bottle or automated feeder. Milk replacers are classified by three categories: protein source, protein/fat (energy) levels, and medication or additives (e.g. vitamins and minerals).http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/dairy/downloads/bamn/BAMN08_GuideMilkRepl.pdf Proteins for the milk replacer come from different sources; the more favorable and more expensivehttp://www1.extension.umn.edu/dairy/calves-and-heifers/milk-replacer-feeding-and%20management.pdf 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. Common ailments affecting dairy cows include infectious disease (e.g.
mastitis Mastitis is inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune cells, ...
,
endometritis Endometritis is inflammation Inflammation (from la, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants, and is a protective response involving immune ce ...
and digital dermatitis), metabolic disease (e.g.
milk fever Milk fever, postparturient hypocalcemia, or parturient paresis is a disease, primarily in dairy farming, dairy cattle but also seen in beef cattle and non-bovine domesticated animals, characterized by reduced blood calcium levels (hypocalcemia). I ...
and
ketosis Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine. Physiologic ketosis is a normal response to low glucose availability, such as low-carbohydrate diets or fasting, that provides an additional ene ...
) and injuries caused by their environment (e.g. hoof and
hock Hock may refer to: Common meanings: * Hock (wine), a type of wine * Hock (anatomy), part of an animal's leg * To leave an item with a pawnbroker People: * Hock (surname) * Richard "Hock" Walsh (1948-1999), Canadian blues singer Other uses: * A t ...
lesions).Rushen, J., de Passillé, A. M., von Keyserlingk, M. A. G., & Weary, D. M. (2008). The welfare of cattle. Animal Welfare Vol. 5. Berlin: Springer Verlag. pp. 21-35. Lameness is commonly considered one of the most significant
animal welfare Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as ...
issues for
dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large s. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily and the most w ...
,Invited review: the welfare of dairy cattle—Key conceptsand the role of science. M.A.G. von Keyserlingk, J. Rushen, A.M. de Passillé, and D.M. Weary. J. Dairy Sci. 92 :4101–4111. 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.


Greenhouse gas emissions

Milk is estimated to have been responsible for 18% of agricultural
greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities strengthen the greenhouse effect The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without ...
in 2014.


Market


Worldwide

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 Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such a ...
such as
milk powder Powdered milk, also called milk powder, dried milk, or dry milk, is a manufactured dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. ...

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 A family farm is generally understood to be a farm owned and/or operated by a family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social ...
". 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 increased from 113 cows in the 1975–76 season to 435 cows in 2018–19 season. Worldwide, the largest cow milk producer is the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, the largest cow milk exporter is
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
, and the largest importer is
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
. The
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
with its present 27 member countries produced in 2013(96.8% cow milk), the most by any
politico ''Politico'' (stylized ''POLITICO''), known originally as ''The Politico'', is a political journalism Political journalism is a broad branch of journalism that includes coverage of all aspects of politics and political science, although th ...
-
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
union.


Supply management

The Canadian dairy industry is one of four sectors that is under the supply management system, a national agricultural policy framework that coordinates supply and demand through production and import control and pricing mechanisms designed to prevent shortages and surpluses, to ensure farmers a fair rate of return and Canadian consumer access to a high-quality, stable, and secure supply of these sensitive products. The milk supply management system is a "federated provincial policy" with four governing agencies, organizations and committees—Canadian Dairy Commission, Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC), regional milk pools, and provincial milk marketing boards. The dairy supply management system is administered by the federal government through the
Canadian Dairy Commission The Canadian Dairy Commission (French: ''Commission canadienne du lait'') is an Ottawa-based Government of Canada The Government of Canada (french: gouvernement du Canada) is the body responsible for the federal administration of Canada ...
(CDC), which was established in 1966 and is composed mostly of dairy farmers, administers the dairy supply management system for Canada's 12,000 dairy farms. The federal government is involved in supply management through the CDC in the administration of imports and exports. The Canadian Milk Supply Management Committee (CMSMC) was introduced in 1970 as the body responsible for monitoring the production rates of milk and setting the national
Market Sharing Quota The Market Sharing Quota (MSQ), In Canadian agricultural policy, is the federally-determined target for the amount of industrial milk Milk is a nutrient-rich liquid food produced by the mammary gland A mammary gland is an exocrine g ...
(MSQ) for industrial raw milk. The supply management system was authorized in 1972 through the Farm Products Agencies Act. Supply management ensures consistent pricing of milk for farmers with no fluctuation in the market. The prices are based on the demand for milk throughout the country and how much is being produced. In order to start a new farm or increase production more share into the SMS needs to be bought into known as “Quota”. 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 2016 the total butter fat produced per month was 28,395,848 kg.


World Milk Production


United States

In the United States, the top five dairy states are, in order by total milk production; California,
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...
, New York, Idaho, and Texas. Dairy farming is also an important industry in
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
,
Minnesota Minnesota () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Minnesota
,
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Co ...

Ohio
and
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
. There are 40,000 dairy farms in the United States. 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 Bernard Sanders (born September8, 1941) is an American politician who has served as the Seniority in the United States Senate, junior United States Senate, United States senator from Vermont since 2007 and as U.S. Representative for the sta ...

Bernie Sanders
accused
Dean Foods Dean Foods is an American food and beverage company and the largest dairy subsidiary company in the United States. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company maintains plants and distributors in the United States. Dean Foods has 66 manufacturing ...
of controlling 40% of the country's milk market. He has requested the
United States Department of Justice The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) o ...
to pursue an
anti-trust Competition law is a law that promotes or seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies. Competition law is implemented through public and private enforcement. It is also known as ''anti-monopoly A ...
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 The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of horizontal directions (or azimuth An azimuth (; from ar, اَلسُّمُوت, as-sumūt, the directions) is an angular measurement In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a ma ...
. Herd size in the US varies between 1,200 on the
West CoastWest Coast or west coast may refer to: Geography Australia * Western Australia *Regions of South Australia#Weather forecasting, West Coast of South Australia * West Coast, Tasmania **West Coast Range, mountain range in the region Canada * British ...
and
Southwest The points of the compass are an evenly spaced set of horizontal directions (or azimuth An azimuth (; from ar, اَلسُّمُوت, as-sumūt, the directions) is an angular measurement In Euclidean geometry Euclidean geometry is a ma ...
, where large farms are commonplace, to roughly 50 in the
Midwest The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the Midwest or the American Midwest, is one of four Census Bureau Region, census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as "Region 2"). It occupies the northern central part of ...
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.{{cite news, last1=MacDonald, first1=James, url=http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2014-december/milk-production-continues-shifting-to-large-scale-farms.aspx#.VRHBM2MR-JF, title=Milk Production Continues Shifting to Large-Scale Farms, date=1 December 2014, work=Amber Waves, access-date=24 March 2015, url-status=dead, archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150323151533/http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2014-december/milk-production-continues-shifting-to-large-scale-farms.aspx#.VRHBM2MR-JF, archive-date=23 March 2015, publisher=
United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
, last2=Newton, first2=Doris


European Union

{, class="wikitable" , + European total milk production in 2009
FAO The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture; it, Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite per l'Alimentazione e l'Agricoltura is a specialized agency ...
statistics
(including cow/goat/sheep/buffalo milk) ! Rank ! Country ! Production (106 kg/y) , - , style="background:#f2f2f2;",   , , style="background:#f2f2f2;", {{flag, European Union
(all 27 countries) , , style="background:#f2f2f2; text-align:right;", 153,033 , - , 1 , , {{flag, Germany , , style="text-align:right;", 28,691 , - , 2 , , {{flag, France , , style="text-align:right;", 24,218 , - , 3 , , {{flag, United Kingdom , , style="text-align:right;", 13,237 , - , 4 , , {{flag, Italy , , style="text-align:right;", 12,836 , - , 5 , , {{flag, Poland , , style="text-align:right;", 12,467 , - , 6 , , {{flag, Netherlands , , style="text-align:right;", 11,469 , - , 7 , , {{flag, Spain , , style="text-align:right;", 7,252 , - , 8 , , {{flag, Romania , , style="text-align:right;", 5,809 , - , 9 , , {{flag, Ireland , , style="text-align:right;", 5.373 , - , 10 , , {{flag, Denmark , , style="text-align:right;", 4,814


See also

{{portal, Agriculture and Agronomy {{Div col, colwidth=22em *
Alfa Laval Alfa Laval AB is a Swedish company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific obje ...

Alfa Laval
*
Animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Ex ...
*
Camel milk Camel milk has supported nomad and pastoral cultures since the domestication of camels millennia ago. Herders may for periods survive solely on the milk when taking the camels on long distances to graze in desert and arid environments. The camel dai ...

Camel milk
*
Dairy cattle Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are cattle Cattle, taurine cattle, Eurasian cattle, or European cattle (''Bos taurus'' or ''Bos primigenius taurus'') are large s. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily and the most w ...
*
Dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such a ...
s *
Factory farming Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known by its opponents as factory farming, is a type of intensive agriculture, specifically an approach to animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concer ...
*
Family farm A family farm is generally understood to be a farm owned and/or operated by a family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social ...
*
List of dairy products This is a list of dairy products. A dairy product is food produced from the milk of mammals. A production plant for the processing of milk is called a dairy or a dairy factory. Dairy farming is a class of agriculture, agricultural, or an animal hus ...
* Managed intensive grazing * Ubre Blanca, a record milk-producing cow *
Veal Veal is the meat of calves Calves is a hamlet in Póvoa de Varzim Póvoa de Varzim (, ) is a Portugal, Portuguese city in Norte Region, Portugal, Northern Portugal and sub-region of Greater Porto, 30 km from its city centre. It sits ...

Veal
*
Veganism Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal product An animal product, also known as lacticinia, is any material derived from the body of an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellul ...
{{div col end


References

{{Reflist, 2


External links

{{Commons category * {{cite EB1911 , wstitle=Dairy and Dairy-farming , volume=7 , pages=737–761 , first=William , last=Fream , short=1 * {{cite web, url=https://pbswisconsin.org/watch/university-place/milking-machines-the-first-100-years-9w9rp0/, title=Milking Machines:The First 100 Years, author=Doug Reinemann, date=July 18, 2018, access-date=June 10, 2021, work=pbswisconsin.org
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 MedicineThe Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) was founded in 1969 by the National Coal Board (NCB) as an independent charity in the UK and retains this charitable purpose and status today. The "Institute" has a subsidiary, IOM Consulting Limited, whi ...
Research Report TM/95/06
Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production
United States Department of Agriculture The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), also known as the Agriculture Department, is the federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming, forestry, rural economic development, ...
,
Economic Research Service The Economic Research Service (ERS) is a component of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States. It provides information and research on agriculture and econo ...

Dairy Equipment Manufacturers and Supplier
(Chadha Sales) {{Agriculture footer {{Authority control {{DEFAULTSORT:Dairy Farming
Milk {{Commons category Dairy products Non-alcoholic drinks Animal glandular products Body fluids Mammals ...
Cattle