Last month we celebrated National Dairy Month by posting some fun facts about the dairy industry. The post sparked some great conversation over on Twitter, but one fact stood out and built quite the buzz: In 2008, the average Washington cow produced 14.5% more milk than the average U.S. cow. So, what makes our cows so productive? For those who are curious, we wanted to expand on our initial 140 character answer here on the blog.
Washington cows are among the nation’s top milk producers for a number of mutually supporting reasons. Generations of carefully selected breeding has produced animals that are naturally large milk producers – so genetics plays a role. In addition, a cow’s milk production is critically dependent on the quality and amount of food she eats. Washington’s rich, volcanic soil produces some of the highest quality alfalfa hay and other animal foodstuffs in the world – and that quality is reflected in the quality and volume of the milk our cows give us. Our mild climate plays a role, as do herd management practices (basically, keeping the animals healthy and happy). Together, all of these factors make Washington’s cows some of the most productive in the world.