Cows, Haulers and Farmers: Fun Facts About The Milk Industry Part 1
When it comes to milk and milk hauling, there’s always more to learn. In this two part series, we’ll explore some of the interesting little-known facts about the milk industry. Whether you’re curious about the cows behind the milk, the drink itself, or the details about how it makes it from the farm to your fridge, read on below to learn more about this historical beverage and its central importance in our lives.
- Strictly speaking, the word “cow” refers only to a female animal that has produced at least one calf. Females who have not yet given birth are more accurately called “heifers.” For males, “bull” refers to a male used for reproductive purposes, while a castrated/non-reproducing male is called a “steer.” The term “calf” applies to young animals of both sexes.
- Cows are milked two to three times per day. Milking by hand, a farmer could milk about 6 cows per hour (using several milking machines increases that rate to 100 cows per hour.)
- Cows eat about 90 pounds of food and drink 25-60 gallons of water per day.
- The average cow gives 6.5 gallons (56 pounds) of milk per day – over 2300 gallons per year.
- A cow in Wisconsin holds a record for milk production, having made over 72,000 pounds of milk in one year (which works out to over 23 gallons per day!)
- One gallon of milk weighs approximately 8.6 pounds.
- In 2010, the average American drank 20.4 gallons of milk – a number that has sadly (and unfortunately) been declining in favour of less nutritionally-dense choices like energy drinks and carbonated drinks since 1984. Nearly 70 percent of milk consumed is drank at home, and about half of milk is consumed plain, while the other half is either flavoured (e.g., chocolate milk) or consumed with some other food such as cereal or coffee.
- The average American eats 31 pounds of cheese each year.
- It takes 10 pound of milk to make one pound of cheese, and 12 pound of milk to make one gallon of ice cream.To produce one ounce of Greek yogurt, it requires three to four ounces of milk.
- In 1900, a gallon of milk cost only about $0.13, compared to about $2.00 today.
But when it comes to the milk industry, that’s just the first sip. For even more facts about milk, the cows and farmers who produce it, the truckers who haul it and the Americans who consume it, see part two of this series.