Dairy cows

I love dairy cows. Most readers of this column know this. I think I have probably conveyed the fact that dairy cows are as complex as the dairy industry itself. Today, I would like to share with you some interesting dairy trivia.

Dairy cows first arrived in America with the Jamestown settlers in 1611. The most common breed of dairy cow in the United States is the Holstein, but Jersey cows produce milk with the highest butterfat content. The average cow produces about 350,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

Bulk tanker trucks for transporting fluid milk were first introduced in 1914. Plastic milk bottles were first introduced in the U.S. in 1967 (a very good year).

A cow has one stomach, but it has four distinct compartments. The average dairy cow weighs 1,400 pounds and consumes about 50 pounds of dry matter (e.g. hay, grass, silage and grain) each day. She also drinks from 30 to 50 gallons of water each day — about a bathtub’s worth.

Cows have 24 teeth and chew at least 50 times per minute. They spend 10 hours a day chewing their cud in order to aid digestion. And believe it or not, cows have an acute sense of smell and can smell something up to six miles away.

Cheese, please!

Americans eat, on average, 40.4 pounds of cheese per year. This average has grown by 5 pounds over the last 10 years. The most common cheeses are mozzarella and cheddar. Seems like a lot of cheese, but the U.S. doesn’t even make the top 15 cheese consuming countries. Denmark is the top consumer with nearly 62 pounds per capita, followed by Iceland, Finland and France, each consuming 60 to 61 pounds per capita.

The tradition of making Swiss cheese in 200-pound wheels began in the Middle Ages when the Swiss government taxed cheesemakers on the number of pieces they produced rather than according to the total weight of the cheese they made.

To get the same amount of calcium provided by an eight-ounce glass of milk, you would have to eat 2 ¼ cups of broccoli, 6 and ¾ oranges or six slices of wheat bread.

Why does milk work better than water to cool your mouth after eating something spicy? The protein in milk called casein cleanses the taste buds.

Minerva Dairy, America’s oldest family-owned creamery and the leader in better butter, was founded in 1894 by Max Radloff, in Hustisford, Wisconsin. Over the next half century, Radloff and his family created a network of 26 farms for sourcing their cream. This included the company’s single present-day location in Minerva, which was acquired in 1935. Minerva Dairy today is famous for its legendary, slow-churned, 85% butterfat content. After 125 years of operation and five generations of family leadership (and counting), the company remains America’s premier butter expert, serving the richest, creamiest, best-tasting butter anywhere.

A sad fact is that U.S. dairy farm numbers are greatly decreasing, but the number of cows per farm has increased. In 2003, there were 70,375 dairy farms and in 2020, there were 31,657 — a decrease of more than 55%.

Thank you for supporting the dairy industry.

Submitted by Mary Smallsreed, a member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau and grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.


OFBF Mission: Working together for Ohio farmers to advance agriculture and strengthen our communities.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Suggested Tags: