How much milk do dairy cows produce?

Lactation yield is the amount of milk produced by a cow over a full lactation cycle. A full lactation cycle is approximately 9-10 months in duration and can be divided into three sections; early, mid and late lactation, followed by a 2-3 month dry period. Lactation yield will vary greatly throughout these four periods. During early lactation a cow will typically produce 12-25 litres of milk/day, by mid lactation a cow will reach its lactation peak of approximately 35 litres of milk/day.

A reduction in milk yield occurs during late lactation and finally when yields drop to 8-9 litres/day the drying off period commences. On average, a dairy cow can give up to 28 litres of milk/day. Factors affecting milk yield include breed (the Holstein Friesian breed produce the highest yield), lactation number (animals typically reach their peak yield at their 4th/5th lactation) and management factors (frequency of milking, nutrition).

Posted Under: Milking Practices