5 Surprising Facts About Milking Cows on Dairy Farms

Milking cows are far from the docile animals most people envision when they think of dairy farms, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things you might not know about how to milk cows properly. Here are five surprising facts about milking cows on dairy farms. #1 Milk production can be unpredictable


1) Milk comes from cows

Dairy farmers raise cows to produce milk, which is not only an integral part of our diet but a big part of dairy farming. In 2014, over 9 billion gallons of milk were produced in Wisconsin alone; cows at Prairiefarms facilities contribute to over 50 million gallons each year. It’s important for dairy producers to keep their herds healthy and happy—as well as milking those cows frequently and efficiently. Here are five surprising facts you may not know about Wisconsin’s dairy industry 1. Dairy farms can be found throughout Wisconsin: While it’s true that much of Wisconsin’s dairy farming takes place in its southern counties, you can find dairy farms all across the state. This includes places like Bayfield County, where there are more than 500 dairy farms and nearly 12,000 cattle!


2) Unusual origin of milking cows

The word dairy may sound like a benign word, but it actually comes from an old English term meaning poison. It was coined because dairy farmers were quite literally poisoning their customers. In dairy farms in centuries past, cows were fed silage—food remnants, like corn stalks and grass clippings—which had spoiled and turned toxic. And back then, milk wasn’t pasteurized so there was no way to keep bacteria out of it. While most modern dairy producers have eliminated silage feeding, some still use leftover food scraps as part of their cow diet. This is why you should always check for expiration dates when buying dairy products. You don’t want to be drinking something that has been sitting around for days or weeks.


3) Cow milk is for calves, not humans

You might think cow milk is a perfectly healthy and tasty drink for humans, but it’s actually intended for baby cows. Humans cannot digest cow milk because our livers are not meant to process it. Cow’s milk contains A1 casein protein (commonly called bovine serum albumin or BSA), which can cause an immune response in humans that researchers believe could lead to inflammation and disease. If you want to enjoy dairy products without risking your health, stick with goat or sheep dairy products. These contain only A2 casein protein, which is much easier for humans to digest. Some studies have even shown that drinking milk from other animals may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Of course, these benefits will vary depending on what other foods you eat—so don’t forget about fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains! All of these foods provide valuable nutrients while helping reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels.


4) Human milk is meant for human babies

Your cow is giving you an overabundance of liquid gold and you can’t drink it? (Don’t worry, dairy farmers—that happens to us too.) The truth is that most dairy producers have to buy back their own excess milk. It’s one reason why there aren’t many people actually doing milking these days. But with new technologies, we can do more with our byproducts. One example is using extra milk for butter-making – imagine that! Butter made from your own cows’ milk. And if you’re wondering about all those other farm products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream and powdered milk – those are also made from your cows’ surplus supply. So next time you’re out shopping for groceries, think about how much money your family could save if they were buying a few extra gallons of milk every week. As a dairy farmer myself, I know what a difference it makes when families choose to support local farms instead of buying from grocery stores or big box stores. Not only does it help me pay my bills at home but it helps keep my community strong.


5) American farmers are being bullied by animal rights activists

The fight over keeping cows in their pens will not be resolved with a lawsuit. Rather, it is up to each of us to educate and change our perspective about animal rights activists’ claims. Because most of us are unfamiliar with how a dairy farm operates, here are five facts you need to know about milking cows at prairiefarms. com. #1: Cows prefer to be milked: According to former Idaho dairy farmer Dean Niewoehner, when given a choice between being milked or being left alone in her pen, most cows choose to get milked because that means she gets fed sooner than if she had waited for someone to come feed her. If that doesn’t convince you that these animals want some human attention every now and then, I don’t know what will! #2: Cows do NOT have udders: A cow’s udder is actually just an extension of her mammary gland, which produces milk just like your breasts do. Each teat has its own little mammary gland inside it, so technically there are two glands per teat (one on either side). This is why all those udderly amazing puns exist—because they’re true!