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Dairy cows producing more milk than ever
Photo: DPA

Dairy cows producing more milk than ever

Published: 04 Dec 2012 06:21 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Dec 2012 06:21 GMT+01:00

Dairy cows in Germany are producing more milk than ever before, with each cow delivering more than 8,000 litres a year, new figures show. Yet this is due to more intensive farming methods, animal welfare campaigners warn.

Cows produced 64 litres more during the 2011-12 season than the previous one, with the average yield being 8,237 litres, the association for quality control in animal production (DLQ) said on Monday.

"Milk production of German cows has never been higher," said Folkert Onken, manager of the DLQ, which monitors the quality of most of the nation's milk. Each cow produces around 400 litres more now than they did five years ago, he added.

He said the higher production was due to the trend for farmers to keep larger herds, and to operate "more professionally" than farmers with smaller herds.

Eastern German cows produce on average 9,101 litres a year - more than their western sisters, thanks to the more industrialized farms there - throwbacks to the once communist agricultural system.

The most productive cows were to be found in Thuringia, where the average milk production was 9,180 litres a year. Farms there have an average of 279 cows. The least productive cows were in Bavaria, where they produce an average of 7,349 litres a year - and where the average dairy farmer has just 38 cows.

An anomaly to the east-west rule was to be found in Osnabrück, Lower Saxony which was the district with the highest-producing cows, averaging 9,811 litres a year. This was said to be due to the area's choice of well-bred cows.

Although the numbers might seem to be good news for those who like their cheese, for the cows it would seem to be less than positive.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) recently launched a campaign calling for an end to industrial dairy farming - and highlighted how many dairy herds are increasingly kept inside rather than out in fields.

"The German dairy sector has gone through a rapid and dramatic transformation in recent decades and is intensifying rapidly, with a growing proportion of cows permanently housed indoors. Germany is the largest producer in Europe and the country with the largest number of dairy cows, many of them still living in tie-stall yards," the WSPA said when launching its Keep Cows on Grass campaign.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:18 December 4, 2012 by CoolBlueIce
Do you think the German Bulls go crazy for these "overly endowed" cows and fantasize watching them run in slow motion on the beach? Just wondering.
10:48 December 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I doubt the farming methods on most of these factory farms is ethical. Anything to squeeze a profit at the expense of an animal cannot be good for the animal.
13:02 December 4, 2012 by Pakistani
look at those huge udders......... must be hard being a bull around these cows :)
15:43 December 4, 2012 by sonriete
Most of them never even are allowed sex, they are artificially inseminated, they are kept pregnant throughout their lives so they will always produce milk, when their bodies are worn out after about 5 years and their milk yield decreases they are slaughtered. The lifespan for a cow under normal conditions is about 20 years.
15:53 December 4, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Not to mention that a lot of them cannot even walk any more when they are sent to slaughter. They are pushed into the slaughterhouse with a building site bulldozer.
16:01 December 4, 2012 by marimay
Terrible. We as humans should be better than this. We need to appreciate where our food comes from.
19:20 December 4, 2012 by Englishted
@Pakistani

That is utterly ridiculous,they use atificial insemination, straight up no bull :-)
20:11 December 4, 2012 by sonriete
It is sad that we spend so much of our time obsessing what genetically modified corn or soybeans will do to us, and look what we do to other living beings, look at those cow udders, and imagine all the hormones and who knows what else caused something so un natural. It is as bad as foi gras.
00:06 December 5, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Not only that sonriete. All this factory farming of animals does is create another unhealthy and cruel buffer zone between us and our real food source.
00:44 December 5, 2012 by sonriete
exactly, and people who think eating beef will make them strong as a bull should not forget the bull only eats grass and grain
03:26 December 5, 2012 by Eric1
More productivity in a socialistic society. This cannot be tolerated.
20:12 December 6, 2012 by Englishted
@Eric1

Milk comes out of cows ,what comes out of the rear end of bulls is more in you line of thinking.
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