Saturday, May 3, 2014
The typical dairy cow raised in a confinement dairy is injected with hormones to increase her milk production. Then after only two year's on the job, she's slaughtered and turned into hamburger because she's either sick, lame, fails to breed, or is a less than stellar producer. The average cull rate in the dairy industry is 30 percent. That means that each year, almost a third of our dairy cows are slaughtered and replaced with new heifers.
I was at a sale barn one day when several dairy animals were brought in the ring to be sold. The gentleman who purchased the animals was a cattle buyer for a large fast food chain here in America. After I saw the animals that the buyer got, our family has never eaten hamburgers at this chain again, and that was over 4 years ago.
A cow that's treated well, spared the hormones, and raised on pasture can be expected to produce milk for ten years or more. The cull rate in a grass-based dairy can be as low as 7 percent. The money that a farmer saves by not having to replace a third of the herd every year helps offset the fact that a cow free of artificial hormones produces less milk. Bossy gets the respect that she deserves and consumers get hormone-free, nutrient-rich milk.