Cow milk is a nutritious liquid and known to be consumed by humankind for centuries. Its consumption had probably started with the domestication of the cow. Nowadays, milk is processed before packaging to ensure that harmful bacteria in the milk are killed. Apart from being popular as a beverage, cows' milk is used to make a large number of products, including cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, liquid milk, ice cream, whey protein, and many more. In cows' milk's raw state, more than 87 percent of its chemical composition is water, while the other 13% consists of such dietary components as butterfat, whey and casein proteins, lactose (milk carbohydrates/sugars), and ash (vitamins and minerals).
10. UK (13.9 billion kilograms)
In the United Kingdom, dairy farming has been a well-established practice for ages, and today dairy cows there are bred specifically to produce milk in large quantities. The country is the 10th topmost producer of cow’s milk globally, and the third largest one in the European Union, falling behind only Germany and France. However, the big concern is that the numbers of dairy cows are decreasing at a steady rate in the United Kingdom, and there has been a 61 percent reduction in the number of registered dairy producers within its borders.
9. Turkey (16.7 billion kilograms)
Dairy farms are relatively smaller in Turkey than in much of the rest of the world. Turkish cows' milk production has witnessed a boost within the last few years. An improvement in lactation yields and the number of cows is the major contributor to this steady rise in production. The major cows' milk production centers in Turkey are in and around İzmir, Balıkesir, Aydın, Çanakkale, Konya, Denizli, Manisa, Edirne, Tekirdag, Bursa, and Burdur. The country mainly exports milk to the European Union, though the Turkish government has taken several steps to boost the demand for cow’s milk in the domestic market as well.
8. New Zealand (18.9 billion kilograms)
The island country has approximately 5 million dairy cows, and the average herd size is increasing steadily. The majority of dairy farms are located in the North Island. The country mainly exports milk-derived products like milk powder, butter, cheese, and cream to other countries across the world. Some of these countries are Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea. New Zealand is making conscious efforts to use new technology and efficient use of resources to improve its dairy farm sector in the wake of impending climatic changes.
7. France (23.7 billion kilograms)
The dairy industry is of immense importance in France, with more than 70,000 dairy farms producing cows' milk there. It is Europe’s second largest producer of cow milk, second only to neighboring Germany. It has more than 3.6 million dairy cows, and a wide variety of cows' milk processing facilities. Most of the produced milk is converted into milk products like cheese and milk powder. France mainly exports the parts of its milk products not consumed domestically to Italy and Germany.
6. Russia (30.3 billion kilograms)
Despite the ongoing usage of traditional dairy technology and decrease in the number of cows, Russia still holds the sixth position in global cows' milk production. The milk production has remained stable over the last few years. Moscow has emerged as the main consuming region for cows' milk in the country for all of these years. Currently, the country is investing substantially in developing better yielding breeds. Russian investors' are also investing to build the largest dairy farm in China to meet its increasing domestic demand for cows' milk.
5. Germany (31.1 billion kilograms)
With more than 4.2 million dairy cows, Germany is at the top of the milk producers in the European Union, and the fifth globally. There is a large difference in herd sizes in the country. Eastern and Western Germany alike account for significant proportions of the German cows' milk production. However, some of the challenges faced by German dairy farmers are increasing land prices and a deficit of qualified laborers.
4. Brazil (34.3 billion kilograms)
Despite being a large net importer of dairy products in the past, the country has become one of the top cows' milk producing countries. Increased support from the Brazilian Government and low production costs are some of the key reasons behind this increase in production. The dairy sector in Brazil has a strong Indian connection, as they have a large number of pure-breed ‘Gir’ cows that are native to Gujarat, India, and these are famous for producing large quantities of milk. The cows' milk production gives an employment to nearly one million people in Brazil. Thus, the dairy sector is quite important to its economy as a whole.
3. China (35.7 billion kilograms)
The Asian country is a world leader in terms of cows' milk production, sitting at the number three position. It exports its milk only to a few Asian countries. The country is now heavily investing in building a 100,000-cow dairy farm to export milk to Russia, as Russia has decided to largely stop its milk imports from the countries of the European Union. According to speculations, the Chinese farm is three times bigger than the largest dairy farm in the United States of America.
2. India (60.6 billion kilograms)
In terms of milk production from all mammalian species, India leads the way, bolstered by its buffalo milk producers. In cows' milk alone, however, it is second to the United States. The milk production in India had increased substantially in the 2014-15 season. Today, India contributes a whopping 9.5 percent of the global cows' milk production. Meticulous planning and a scientific approach have played a major role in this increased milk production. An approximate 80 percent of the production comes from an unorganized sector of small farmers. The country has more than 130,000 dairy cooperative societies at the village level. Uttar Pradesh, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Punjab, are the major milk producing states in India. The country is also the largest milk consumer. It exports milk to many countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Nepal, Bhutan, and Afghanistan.
1. USA (91.3 billion kilograms)
Although the cows' milk production has increased by 1.76 liters per cow, the country is at number two globally in terms of all milk, but number one in cows' milk production, as in India a significant portion of milk production comes from buffaloes. California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York, and Pennsylvania are the major states producing cows' milk in the United States of America. Many of the larger dairy farms in the US have more than 15,000 cows each. However, many small farms with less than 30 cows each also contribute significantly to the overall cows' milk production. Besides a massive domestic demand for cheese, milk, and other dairy products, the country also exports its cow milk and its milk products in large quantities to a large number of other countries all around the world as well. Some of these are Mexico, Saudi Arabia, several in Southeast Asia, Canada, Taiwan, and China.