History of Commercial Milk Production
All mammals, including humans, are known for producing milk by their mammary glands. In fact, mammary glands are the reason for our classification as “mammals”. Milk is a white liquid full of nutrients. Among mammals, it is the only type of food that their infants can digest. Mammals feed milk to their babies through breastfeeding with an exception of only two, which are the echidna and the platypus.
For millions of years, milk was used for this sole purpose, which changed with the domestication of animals around 10,000 BCE. Soon, humans learned to use these domesticated animals for dairy products. Around 5,000 BCE, humans, especially in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, started cattle farming for dairy purposes. The industrial revolution in nineteenth century increased the demand of the commercial production of milk and other dairy products. Today, milk and its products are used by more than six billion people around the world in some way or the other.
Total Worldwide Milk Production
Although all mammals produce milk, its commercial production is achieved through dairy animals including cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels. On the whole, 85% of total milk production worldwide comes from cows, while buffaloes, goats, sheep and camels contribute 11%, 2%, 1.4% and 0.2% respectively.
Top Buffalo Milk Producing Countries
There is a significant gap between the first and second top producing countries on the list, as well as the second and third producing countries. India comes in at the top with 70,000,000 metric tonnes of buffalo milk a year. Pakistan stands at number two, with a production rate of 24,370,000 metric tonnes, almost 1/3 of the production rate of India. Next in line is China as it produces around 3,050,000 metric tonnes of buffalo milk, which is yet another shocking difference, almost 1/8 of the production of Pakistan and almost 1/23 the production of India.
Buffalo Milk vs Cow Milk
Buffalo milk is the second largest source of milk production in the world, although its share is much less than the total cow milk production. Both buffalo milk and cow milk have different compositions that makes them equally important. There are many factors like yield, health, climate, geography and lifestyle that resulted in the domination of cow milk, but it does not decrease the positives and importance of buffalo milk. On average, a buffalo produces 7 to 11 liters of milk per day, while a cow’s daily milk production is 14 to 20 liters. This difference in daily yield is one of the biggest reasons for the large commercial production of cow milk.