October 15, 2011

Got Milk?

 As part of my dietetic internship, we went to Kellogg Dairy Farm in Hickory Corners, MI. It is part of the Michigan State University program. We learned all about the practices used when milking cows. I learned so much information and went home feeling like this company used very animal friendly practices.

 Part of the MSU farm across the street from the plant
 My class of interns. I am all the way on the left.

Now, onto the interesting part. Cows at this farm are milked voluntarily. What does that mean? It means that they can choose when they want to be milked. They just walk up to this huge $200,000 machine and it milks them.  The machine knows which cow it is, where exactly the utters are located on that particular cow, etc. The machine first cleans the udder, attaches the parts, and milks the cow.

Here is some interesting facts about the milk that I learned:
-A cow has 4 separate quarters on their body from where the milk comes. Each quarter is attached to one of the udders. 
-If a cow is not milked for 12 hours or more, someone will go to get them so that they get milked.
-When one utter is empty during milking, the machine lets go of that utter and lets it continue milking the others. This helps to prevent mastitis which is an infection in the mammary gland.
-The average cow there weighs 1350 pounds!
-Each cow produces about 45-85 gallons of milk PER DAY!
-During the summer months, milk production is much lower due to the cow eating mostly grass as opposed to corn, hay, etc.
-To keep milk production up, each cow needs to give birth about once per year.


I absolutely loved this trip and learned a ton about milking cows.

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  1. I'm glad you had that opportunity.
    I work with a lot of dairy producers.
    I think everyone should visit a farm and talk to the producer at least once. There are so many false rumors and myths floating around out there about how dairy cows are raised and what's being fed to them. I think if folks had a chance to talk one-on-one with a farmer, they'd feel a lot better about their milk supply, because those farmers and their families are drinking it, too.

  2. Hey Amanda. I'm Sarah, just started following your blog from the Welcome Weds hop and I wanted to invite you to come follow back. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, this sounds like it was a very interesting experience.

    I am following through GFC and also liked your FB page. I tried to follow on Twitter, but it didn't go through for some reason. Anyway, thanks:)



  3. I can honestly say I've never heard of voluntary milking-That's such an interesting and odd happening! LOL

    It sounds like you learned quite a lot and got to have a wonderful experience :)

    Plus, you got to see some downright adorable cows!

  4. Voluntary milking... how cool is that! I love learning new things about our food supply... Thanks for sharing this :)

  5. Wow...I love the idea of voluntary milking! Not for myself, of course, but for cows it's great. LOL Seriously, I've never heard of it, but I really like that Kellogg is using it. Very cool. Thanks for informing us; otherwise I never would have known!


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