Facts About Dairy Cows
Did you know that until the 1860s nearly every family in the United States of America had its own cow? Not only was she part of the family, the family often depended upon her for survival, especially during the unpredictable (and often harsh!) winter months. Even today, the majority of milk, cheese, and yogurt consumed in the United States of America is produced by the good ole’ dairy cow! Considering what a large portion of most peoples’ diet is dependent upon the cow, they have become known as “the foster mother of the human race.”
It wasn’t until about 1841 when cow milk first started to become mass-produced and distributed among American families. The first known shipment of cow milk was transported via railroad between Orange County (NY) and New York City (NY). Up until 1880, milk and other dairy products were not refrigerated, and it wasn’t until 1895 when the first pasteurization process was invented.
The dairy industry has obviously come a long way in the past 135 years. Cows today can produce nearly 10 times more milk than their ancestors, which has become a necessity considering the supply and demand of dairy in, not only the United States of America, but also the world! The need for dairy products has become so massive that nearly 9.2 million cows are part of the dairy industry today. Of the 110,000 or so dairy farms within the United States of America, nearly 99% of them are family owned and operated. In recent years, more and more dairy farms are choosing to remain small-based, so they can concentrate more on the health and happiness of their cows. Our family at Gold Creek Farms is proud to be part of that new trend!
Most cows are about two years old when they have their first baby calf, and they can be milked for about three to four years on average after first becoming a mama cow (with a few well-deserved breaks in-between, of course!).
Before milk pumps were invented in 1894, a farmer could only milk about six cows per hour. With modern milk pumps, farmers can now milk up to 100 cows per hour, and the process has become much more comfortable and quick for the cow.
The milk produced by dairy cows is not only a huge part of the American diet, but they also provide a whopping 90% of the world’s dairy supply. Each cow can give nearly 25 gallons of milk per day, which equals approximately 400 glasses of milk per day. If multiplied to a yearly basis, that supply would equal 2,000 gallons of milk per year or 30,000 glasses of milk per year!
We at Gold Creek Farms love our girls and consider them part of our family. Each of our cows are given a name at birth and allowed to roam freely in the fields for nearly all hours of the day and night. After all, our cows are where our delicious, award-winning cheese starts, and we love them for it!
For more fun facts about dairy, please visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html