Dairy cows Information

Dairy cattle are cattle cows bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus.

Historically, there was little distinction between dairy cattle and beef cattle, with the same stock often being used for both meat and milk production. Today, dairy cows are specialized and most have been bred to produce large volumes of milk, with little or no regard for their production of meat. Between 1959 and 1990, US milk production doubled while the number of dairy cows declined 40 percent.

Dairy cows may be found in herds on dairy farms where dairy farmers own, manage, care for, and collect milk from them. Dairy cow herds range in size from small farms of fewer than five cows to large conglomerates of 25,000 cows or more. The average dairy farmer in the United States manages about one hundred cows but this varies from an average of 800 cows in California to under 80 in the North East states. Herd sizes vary around the world depending on landholding culture and social structure. In many European countries the average herd size is well below 50. In the UK it is over 100 in New Zealand 350 and Australia 280.

Wikipedia, Dairy cows, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy_cows (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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