June is Dairy Month, so the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association sent me some interesting statistics about dairy production in the state of Virginia.
It should be no surprise that Southwest and Central Virginia are home to the most dairy farms and account for the most milk production in the state. According to 2009 data:
* The top six ranking dairy counties according to the number of Grade A dairy farms were: Rockingham (241 farms), Franklin (62 farms), Augusta (50 farms), Fauquier (29 farms), Wythe (25 farms) and Bedford (17 farms).
* The top six ranking counties for milk production were: Rockingham (355 million pounds), Franklin (138 million pounds), Pittsylvania (122 milliion pounds), Augusta (103 million pounds), Wythe (47.3 million pounds) and Washington (45.8 million pounds).
Now, how could two counties be listed at the top in milk production but not in the number of dairy farms? I suppose because they may have fewer farms, but those are very large, high-producing farms. A few other facts:
* In 2010, a dairy cow in Virginia cost about $1,300 per head.
* Each dairy cow in Virginia produced about 2,089 gallons of milk in 2010.
* Total amount of milk produced in the state in 2010: about 198.5 million gallons
* Average value of a gallon of milk: $1.29
* Average value of a day’s milk: About $7.58 per cow
* To produce this much milk, an average cow consumes 50 gallons of water, 20 pounds of grain and feed concentrates and 55 pounds of corn silage.
When I ate my bowl of cereal this morning (which was, as usual, pretty heavy on milk), I should have thanked the cows! Cereal, by the way, is my favorite way to consume milk. I also crave milk with a slice of cake and whenever I eat pancakes for breakfast. Oddly, my husband likes milk with savory foods. I’ve even seen him drink a glass with Italian food.
I usually drink skim milk, but I prefer to cook with 2% or richer. And when I do crave a glass of milk, it is usually because milk seems colder than any other beverage to me.
Milk is a key part of any healthy diet, and it is especially important that children drink plenty of low-fat or fat-free milk. If you have to give them low-fat or fat-free flavored milk to get them to drink it, that’s OK. It still has a lot of protein, vitamins and minerals. For more information about milk, click here.
How much milk does your household go through in a given week, and what are your favorite ways to consume it?