Dairy Cattle Nutritionist (with Nick Jenkins)

There is this perception that as farms get larger animals are treated as units and they aren’t treated as animals that can feel pain and should be treated right.  Smaller farms the view is that the animals are better taken care of and valued more.  In my experiences it has not been that cut and dry.

I have a confession to make.  I am a long time milk-aholic.  In my youth I drank it straight, in high-school and college I would go through a gallon a week absolutely drowning bowls of cereal multiple times a day, and now that I’ve given up straight dairy and things like cereal, I’ve replaced liquid milk with it’s solid butter and cheese cousins.  Who doesn’t love a salty gruyere or a creamy brie?  Who doesn’t love butter on…everything?  Yep all of my life I’ve owed a huge debt to our good friend, the dairy cow.  Today we learn about how our amazing friends are fed and what impacts the finished product that we love.

We usually measure it in weight.  100 lbs of milk is usually the economic unit.  It’s about 8.6 lbs per one gallon.  A lot of high producing cows will produce over 100 lbs of milk per day.  At their peak milk some cows can be up around 200 lbs per day.  They really are kind of like athletes and you’ve got to treat them like athletes.
In 1944 there were about 25 million dairy cows, today there are about 9 million. In 1944 the 25 million cows only produced 60% of the milk that the 9 million cows are today. Compared to 1944 it would take 23% of the food, 35% of the water, and only 10% of the land to produce the same amount of milk as back then.

Interview Contents

5:00 - Large scale vs. small scale farm care. Perception vs. reality.

19:45 - The milking lifecycle of a dairy cow.

25:00 - The daily activities of a dairy cow.

30:00 - The cows living quarters at small farms vs large farms.

34:00 - Grazing dairies.

38:00 - The pros and cons of various types of farming.

45:00 - Getting better over the years.

46:30 - The nutrition work that Nick does.

48:20 - The art and variability of trying to get cows properly fed.

54:00 - Milk buying advice.


Factors in the Drop in United States Infant Mortality: 1900-1940

Increasing omega fatty acid content in cow’s milk through diet manipulation: Effect on milk flavor

Milk composition and flavor under different feeding systems: A survey of dairy farms



Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour


Blake Fletcher

Livin it up!