Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Inside Story on Milk

Yesterday, I showed you the outside of my brother-in-law's milking parlor, and today I'll take you on a bit of a tour.

Tom breeds and milks Holstein cows, a black and white breed that originated in  The Netherlands almost 2000 years ago.  Of the six main dairy breeds, the Holsteins, on average, produce the most milk.  They eat almost constantly so that they produce enough milk for their twice-daily milkings.

Before they go into the milking parlor, they gather in the holding pen right outside the parlor (Above).  Note the cow's full udder.

Tom milks 40 cows twice each day - once in the morning, and once in the early evening.  There are six milking machines in his milking parlor, three on each side.  Once the cows enter the parlor, Tom disinfects their udders, attaches the machine to them, and turns on the machine (Below).   Note the cows in the holding pen outside the back door.

The milking machine automatically milks the cows and sends the milk to a stainless steel, refrigerated tank (Below).

A "milk man" picks up the fresh, raw milk from the dairy farm to a plant where it's pasteurized, bottled and sold to the public.

Yesterday, I asked if anyone could guess the range of how many pounds Tom gets from his cows in the average day.  Guesses ranged from five to 10 gallons daily.  A gallon weighs about eight pounds, so that would be from 40 to 100 pounds of milk per day.

Close!  Tom says that, on the low end, one cow may produce only 17 pounds per day while another may produce 134 pounds per day.  Yikes!


USelaine said...

This takes me right back to second grade, and Mrs. Wilson's unit on dairy cattle. I can almost smell the dittoes, describing Jersey, Guernsey, and Holstein cows, and their relative productivity and richness. My grandfather and I preferred the Extra Rich variety, but fashion has pushed that off the shelves. 8^)

Rambling Round said...

Well over 100 pounds a day? Now, that's a good milk cow!

Kate said...

Great informaton, Chris! I loved the top photo...a real beauty. On Monday we're taking our granddaughter to the MN State Fair, always lots of fun. Going to watch some horse shows. My "sophisticated" friends smile at my enthusiasm, and none will join me. They're missing out on lots of fun! I love the food, the crafts, and the animals. I also love the egalitarian aspect of the crowds. Nowhere else!

GMG said...

Ola Chris! First of all many thanks for your comment on my post of 08.08.08 at 08h08 at Blogtrotter, now in Kos, Greece! It was great to read you there. Second, sorry for the long delay to come here, but August was a terribly busy month, as everybody else seems to be in vacation… ;))
Anyhow, I found sometime now to land here and enjoy your blog. Amazing milk story. Great treat!
Wish you a great weekend!