Milk production

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In agriculture, milk production or dairy farming is the keeping of cattle for the production of milk , referred to as dairy cattle . Different races of domestic cattle have the largest share of the dairy herd , and the production of cow's milk makes up by far the largest part of the dairy industry, followed by buffalo milk . The dairy industry also includes dairy farms and trading in milk and milk products .

The oldest finds of milk use date back 7,000 years, and milk fat residues have been identified in Stone Age pottery.

Worldwide importance

The largest cow milk producers (2007) in thousand t
rank country Cow's milk production
(in thousand tons )
Share of
world prod.
1 United StatesUnited States United States 84.189 15%
2 IndiaIndia India 42,890 0 8th %
3 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 35,574 0 6%
4th RussiaRussia Russia 31,915 0 6%
5 GermanyGermany Germany 28,403 0 5%
6th BrazilBrazil Brazil 26,944 0 5%
7th FranceFrance France 24,374 0 4%
8th New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand 15,842 0 3%
9 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 14,023 0 2%
10 PolandPoland Poland 12.096 0 2%

In 2008 693,707,346 tons of milk were produced, 83% of which was cow's milk. The largest producing countries of cow's milk are the USA, India and China. In 2008 28,656,256 tons were produced in Germany, 4,115,560 tons in Switzerland and 3,195,950 tons in Austria. A total of 209,974,244 t were produced in Europe , which is 36% of world production.

The number of animals in the EU is falling slightly. While 25,237,000 animals were kept in 2004, there were 24,176,000 in 2007. A decline can be observed in almost every country. In Germany the number of cows in 2007 was 4,087,000, in Austria 525,000. In Switzerland, the number of dairy cows fell from 1,570,000 to 564,200 between 2003 and 2018.

In the European Union , milk production between 1984 and 2015 was limited by the milk quota . In Switzerland, the milk quota was lifted in 2009. From 2015 to 2017, the European Commission purchased a total of 380,000 tonnes of skimmed milk powder as part of public intervention in order to stabilize the market and support farmers' incomes. At the end of 2016, the Commission started monthly and then bimonthly public tenders to gently bring the products back onto the market through sales.

Historical development of the dairy industry

Austria (within its current borders)

This section deals almost exclusively with the situation in the area that corresponds to today's Austria.

The development up to the First World War

In the 1870s, grain prices and later also sheep wool prices fell due to competition from overseas. This led to the dairy industry expanding and gaining in importance. It was specifically promoted by politics, individual experts and dairy associations. The first comprehensive book on dairy farming in Germany was published by Benno Martiny in 1870. Shortly before the turn of the 20th century, the first hiking teachers and instructors were also employed, but there was still a shortage of skilled workers. This shortage of skilled workers was to be counteracted by the establishment of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in 1872 and the establishment of middle and lower agricultural schools.

With the specialization of the dairy industry came a change. Milk and its processing, formerly women's work, increasingly became men's work, a development that intensified in the early 20th century. The Viennese dairy exhibition prompted Wilckens to undertake an alpine and dairy study trip through the Alpine countries in 1873 and he introduced dairy farming as a lecture subject at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, combined with practical exercises in milk tests and butter and cheese production. These are considered to be the first milk economy lectures in the German-speaking area. A. H. Benno Martiny dedicated himself to dairy farming and in 1874 bought Gut Litzelhof near Spittal in Carinthia and managed it for six years. There he founded an exemplary dairy farm in which the cows at 370 to 400 kg had an average milk yield of 2728 kg, the maximum output was 3500 kg. The experience gained from this was incorporated into guidelines for dairy cattle breeding, the identification of breeding animals and breeding bookkeeping. Together with C. Schütz, the state secretary of the Agricultural Society, Martiny introduced new types of cheese in Carinthia and also done a lot for the Carinthian dairy industry.

The Vienna Milk Exhibition in 1872

In 1872 the k. & k. Ministry of Agriculture the Austrian Dairy Exhibition in Vienna. Count Berlupt-Tissac had the idea for this. The most important representatives of dairy promotion and dairy science met at this exhibition. On the one hand dairy products and on the other hand also devices for their production were shown at the versatile exhibition. 41 domestic exhibitors for butter and clarified butter and 195 exhibitors for cheese presented their products. However, the butter exhibition was not very satisfactory and many of the prizes could not be distributed due to the poor quality. At the cheese exhibition, however, the Austrian cheese dairies were able to demonstrate their capabilities. Vorarlberg was the most successful crown land for hard cheeses, followed by Tyrol and Salzburg. With the Romadur-like cheeses, Carinthia was the most successful crown land. Condensed milk, which at that time was produced at two locations in Austria, was also exhibited. The Lefeldt butter churn received the gold medal at the equipment exhibition. The Vienna Dairy Exhibition was the starting point for many innovations, for example with the milk centrifuge. She ensured that the achievements of the Danish dairy industry spread to Austria and Germany.

Organization of the Austrian dairy industry in the first few years

As early as the middle of the 19th century, there were commercial companies devoted to the artisanal processing of milk and the manufacture of dairy products. In addition, joint ventures emerged through the cooperative association of farmers. With the rapid growth of cities and industrial centers at the end of the 19th century, the importance of milk processing as a new branch of the economy increased. The agglomerations were supplied by farmers in the area and by large farms. Those farmers who had their farms further away from the metropolitan areas were only able to market their milk there when the organizational cooperation between farms and the simultaneous construction of processing facilities made this possible. The first cooperatives were severely restricted in their scope of action by the lack of money. In some cases, due to financial hardship, building a dairy was impossible or only feasible through large debts, which brought many cooperatives to the brink of ruin and thus forced them to dissolve. That only changed with the League of Nations loan, which was granted to the Austrian dairy industry.

Of the two possible forms of amalgamation for joint exploitation in the early days of dairies, cooperative and private milk processing, the farmers mostly opted for the cooperative form because of the much greater economic backing. This marked the beginning of the extraordinary boom in the dairy cooperatives, which continues to this day. Cooperative alpine dairies, cheese factories and dairies with a dense network of collection points were founded even in remote valleys. The cooperative concept was based on community spirit and self-administration. The private dairies, cheese factories and milk wholesalers were mostly small and medium-sized businesses run by individual families. In Vienna, on the other hand, the private businesses emerged primarily from the city milk wholesalers. The cooperatives eventually merged to form six regional recycling centers and sales organizations. These took over all economic tasks that the cooperatives could not fulfill. This included the supra-regional marketing and distribution of the finished dairy products. The only administrative center that was founded before the First World War was the First Central Tea Butter Sales Cooperative in Schärding. Most of the others were founded in the interwar period. The first central tea butter sales cooperative Schärding, which was later renamed Schärdinger Oberösterreicher Dairy Association and merged in 1977 with the commercial dairy association Mauerkirchen, was founded in 1900. In 1921 the Alma Vorarlberger cheese factories and export reg. Gen.mbH founded. In 1928 the dairy association for Lower Austria was established, twenty years later (1948) the Burgenland dairy and milk cooperative association reg. Gen.mbH 1970 resulted from the merger of the Styrian Dairy Association, founded in 1934, with the Carinthian Dairy Association and with the Styrian Viehverwertungsgenossenschaft the Agrosserta - Agrarverwertungsverband reg. Gen.mbH In the same year, the Salzburger Dairy and Cheese Association, founded in 1931, merged with the Tyrolean Dairy Association, founded in 1932, to form the Alpi - Alpenländische Milchindustrie reg. Gen.mbH

The First World War

In the last few years before the First World War , a number of legal measures to regulate the Austrian milk market were discussed but not implemented.

After the outbreak of war, the British Empire used its unique naval power to blockade the Central Powers. This blockade (at that time the German Empire imported wheat and other food on a large scale) soon led to food shortages and from 1917–1918 to hunger among many soldiers and civilians (see turnip winter ). Many cows were slaughtered; the milk supply in Vienna and other large cities collapsed.

In 1914 the Austrian dairy industry was booming. Numerous additions and new buildings were planned in the dairy area to ensure that the population was supplied with high-quality dairy products in a regulated manner. The war shook the dairy industry severely; On the one hand by the relentless cattle and horse acquisitions, on the other hand because the military transports paralyzed the delivery of milk by rail. This contributed to supply shortages and a sharp rise in food prices. Although the producer price of the milk was raised by 20%, this was no incentive for the producers at the time to increase the milk delivery (especially since there was inflation, see also German inflation 1914 to 1923 ).

This situation was exacerbated by a drought in 1915 which made green fodder scarce. There was also hardly any concentrate left to buy. In addition, foot and mouth disease has reduced milk yield and livestock numbers. To counter the bottleneck, the import of condensed and dry milk from neutral countries was increased. In order to secure the milk supply in the big cities, individual dairy farms were declared state-protected companies and placed under military protection. The complete regulation and control of milk production was established by ordinance on September 11, 1916. That was the beginning of compulsory farming. This ordinance contained the following points (see also war economy ):

  • Delivery obligation to cover needs in Vienna,
  • Company supplies,
  • Insight into the milk producers in relation to milk consumers,
  • Fixing of maximum prices for milk in the milk supply points,
  • Economic records.

Five months later (from February 18, 1917) milk could only be obtained in Vienna with official milk cards. The official measures probably did not lead to any improvement in the milk supply.

The first republic

Problems after the war

When the war economy was abolished, agriculture began to be built up systematically. Of all branches of agriculture, the dairy industry received the most support. When the war ended, however, the low point in milk supply in Austria was not yet reached. The worsening of the emergency situation in the post-war period was due to the tightening of the cattle acquisition, the lack of feed, returning soldiers from the front, strikes, epidemics, etc. In order to improve the situation, solutions were constantly sought. The city of Vienna, for example, bought 1,500 cows from abroad, whose milk should only benefit children and the sick. The farmers were not allowed a producer price to cover the production costs; other items have become more expensive due to inflation. At times, milk was traded on the black market at five times the official maximum price. Maximum prices were also paid for dried and condensed milk (imported from abroad). For a can of 1.5 liters of unsweetened condensed milk you had to pay up to 26 Austrian crowns .

Innovations in the Austrian dairy industry

There has been a strong boom in the Austrian dairy industry since the mid-1920s. This upswing was particularly encouraged by the League of Nations loan that Austria had received at the instigation of the then Federal President Hainisch. The League of Nations Loan was approved in 1926 and in the following years 35 larger cheese and dairies were built in Austria. In 1936 there were a total of 858 dairies and cheese factories in Austria, 400 of which were hard cheese factories, which were mainly located in Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg, 80 soft cheese factories and 180 butter factories. The remaining operations were consumer milk dairies. Austria has adopted many improvements in the dairy industry from Switzerland. A product that was new to Austria in the inter-war period was processed cheese . In 1925, the Alma Cooperative in Bregenz, founded in 1921, began producing processed cheese, as it had problems selling traditional cheeses in the first few years and saw processed cheese as an economically viable alternative to traditional cheeses.

Training in dairy

The dairy farming classes at university level took place at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, where there was a chair for dairy and agricultural bacteriology. In addition, there was the very well-equipped federal teaching and research institute in Wolfpassing near Wieselburg (founded in 1930) as well as two dairy and cheese-making schools and three teaching dairies.

In the Austrian Alpine countries there were two schools for the voluntary training of dairy staff. One was Rotholz in Tirol and the other Winkelhof in Oberalm . The courses lasted four months in Oberalm and seven months in Rotholz, but there were no binding regulations for training. Both schools ended their courses with exams. The dairy comrades were trained in ten-month courses in Wolfpassing. But also in Wolfpassing there were six-month courses for the leading specialist staff and specialist courses of shorter duration. In the Austrian Alpine countries there were two schools for the voluntary training of dairy staff. One was Rotholz in Tirol and the other Winkelhof in Oberalm. The courses lasted 4 months in Oberalm and 7 months in Rotholz, but there were no binding regulations for the training. Both schools ended their courses with exams. The dairy comrades were trained in ten-month courses in Wolfpassing. But also in Wolfpassing there were six-month courses for the leading specialist staff and specialist courses of shorter duration. Another school that could not last long was the teaching dairy for butter and soft cheese production, which was built after the Ritzlhof agricultural school. It was built in 1927 by the Upper Austrian Provincial Culture Council and closed again after only six years. In Imst and Lienz there were teaching dairies connected to the local agricultural schools, which served as preparation for the cheese dairy school in Rotholz. In Salzburg, the students were practically prepared for the Winkelhof school in the teaching cheese dairy in Seekirchen .

But the milking staff was also trained. The Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture ran a vocational school in Laxenburg. The school was founded in 1928. She had an average of 140 cows, and the stable was owned by the War Victims Fund. The courses lasted six months with 15 students per course. There were also other milking and livestock schools, for example in Judenau near Tulln, where the courses lasted two months. There were also training centers in Ritzlhof in Upper Austria, on the Ossiacher Tauern in Carinthia with six-month courses and at the Litzelhof State School near Spittal in Carinthia. In the federal states of Tyrol, Upper Austria and Styria, there were even milk teachers employed.

Surplus production

After the First World War there was a lack of milk, but this could be remedied quickly and soon turned into a surplus. A milk compensation fund was created on a voluntary basis in 1930 so that the producers received a uniform producer price regardless of their later use.

Milk production in Austria rose from 1,201,665 t to 1,827,245 t in just four years from 1919 onwards. Milk deliveries in Vienna increased by leaps and bounds from 1922 to 1924. In 1922 59,722 t were delivered per year, in 1923 it was already 143,897 t and in 1924 226,800 t. This means that the delivery to Vienna has increased by 379% within two years. Although the farmers found interest in milk production again through the free movement of milk, the interest in milk consumption first had to be re-awakened. Due to the gigantic inflation in 1922, prices had to be reset every two weeks. If the milk price was 60 kroner per liter until the dairy trade was opened, it was increased to 100 kroner on January 14th. On December 1st it was even 4250 kroner. The great uncertainty in the milk market led to protests from dairy farmers, milk dealers and dairies.

Organization of the dairy industry

In the interwar period, dairy and livestock farming was concentrated in the western parts of our country. 97–99% of the agricultural area there was grassland. At that time, 27.2% of the population was still active in agriculture and forestry. 52% of the milk was drunk in 1936, 14% was used for rearing, 22% was made into butter and 12% into cheese. 11% of milk was consumed in Vienna alone. The supply of Vienna was taken over by five large and some smaller dairies. Compensatory dairies were built around Vienna to absorb the surplus and process it. In Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg, the focus was more on the production of loaf cheese (Emmentaler and Groyer), while in Upper Austria and Styria, butter production and soft cheese production were predominant. Of the approximately 25 million kg of butter that was produced annually in the mid-1930s, 7 million came from home production. In addition, 5 million kg of soft cheese and 15 million kg of hard cheese were produced.

The milk that was delivered to the big cities was often of poor quality due to the long transport routes and was burdened with high transport costs. In the case of fresh milk, the high transport costs did not play a major role, unlike with other milk products, whose waste products, such as skimmed milk, buttermilk or whey, had to be recycled, which again resulted in transport costs. The processing of milk in the big city was a loss-making business that should be reduced to a minimum. The first step in this direction was the regulation of milk traffic.

Of the 858 companies that existed in Austria in 1936, around 320 were organized as cooperatives, with an average processing volume of 3,000 to 4,000 liters per day. There were also 780 alpine dairies and 900 dairy cooperatives. The most important of these cooperatives were the Upper Austrian Dairy Association or the First Upper Austrian Central Tea Butter Sales Cooperative in Schärding, the Regional Association of Dairy and Dairy Cooperatives of Lower Austria, the Association of Styrian Dairy Cooperatives, the Association of Private Dairies and Cheese Dairies in Austria, the Tyrolean Dairy Association, the Salzburger Käsereiverband , the Reich Association for Butter and Cheese Wholesalers in Austria and the Professional Association of Butter Dealers in Austria. From 1922 the umbrella organization was the Milchwirtschaftliche Verein, which was converted into the Dairy Industry Association of Austria in 1934. This was divided into seven sections. The business association of cheese making associations of the Austrian Alpine countries was still affiliated to it.

In the interwar period, Vorarlberg was Austria's most important cheese producer. In 1923 Vorarlberg produced 45% of the Austrian cheese. Around 1938 Vorarlberg's share of Austrian cheese exports was 38.9%. The Alma cooperative took over almost half of this. Ten other dealers shared the rest, with Josef Rupp from Lochau being the largest dealer.

Regulation of the Austrian milk market

The state subsidies for condensed milk and the purchase of concentrated feed were cut in the 1920s due to a lack of funds. In addition to the reasons for the milk shortage already mentioned above, the following reasons were given for the "release of milk traffic and milk price":

  • Increase in meat prices,
  • Transport difficulties,
  • Surreptitious trade,
  • public management of milk
  • official pricing

All ordinances that previously regulated the trade in milk and dairy products were repealed on June 1st, 1922. Free delivery contracts could now be concluded between dairy farmers and customers, but only within the framework of the price driving law. However, these measures were not yet fully effective at this point in time for two reasons. First, the war-related losses in dairy cattle had not yet been made up; second, the Alpine regions had not yet managed to switch to increased milk production.

During the global economic crisis, the collapse in prices, sales crises, mutual undercutting and the boundless misery of dairy farmers in areas far from the market intensified to such an extent that a collapse was to be feared. In 1931, due to the problems in Vienna, the realization prevailed that better coordination of dairy policy was necessary. The development of the Austrian dairy industry towards overwhelming overproduction inevitably required measures to keep the milk price at a profitable level. These measures were initially on a voluntary basis, and only later on a legal basis. As early as 1928, Häusler had referred to the new milk price structure in Switzerland, which was used there to stabilize the cheese price, namely the creation of a milk compensation fund. That is why a number of laws and regulations were created. The milk compensation fund was created in 1931, and in 1934 the Milk Price Ordinance and the Milk Traffic Act were passed.

With the Milk Equalization Fund Act came the legal price regulation for milk in Austria.

In 1934 the Milk Traffic Act was passed, it was promulgated on August 31, 1934 and came into force one day later. The Milk Traffic Act regulated the delivery of milk to larger consumer locations and also the processing of milk into butter, cheese, condensed and dried milk. Since falling demand was countered by increased supply, this regulation attempted to adapt generation to demand and thus maintain the price level. Delivery areas were allocated to the dairies and delivery restrictions imposed on the producers. For this purpose, they received delivery notes from the Chamber of Agriculture on the basis of the last three years, on which the quantity to be delivered was recorded, divided into drinking and factory milk.

The milk price determination commission slowly adjusted the milk prices, which were far below the production costs due to the war economy, to the production costs. It was created on a voluntary basis in 1922 for the Vienna milk market. Producers, traders, dairies, agriculture and forestry, authorities and professional associations were all represented in it. The prices set by this commission were not binding, but were mostly adhered to. It was formed on the initiative of the Secretary General of the Austrian Agricultural Society.

The federal law of July 17, 1931 decided to set up a milk compensation fund. That was the beginning of the legal regulation of the milk market in Austria. The law on the establishment of a milk compensation fund was initially only intended for the federal states of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria and Vienna. It was only extended to Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol a good two years later, on August 10, 1933, and only when it was extended to Vorarlberg on November 24, 1933, did it apply to the entire federal territory. Up until the “ Anschluss of Austria ”, the legal regulation of the milk market was expanded, especially through the Milk Traffic Act of 1934. The milk compensation fund raised four groschen from every liter of consumed milk in order to increase the price of processing milk. Due to the global economic crisis, consumption declined and, despite the compensation fund, the producer price was depressed. The milk compensation fund was set up to ensure the most uniform producer and consumer price possible and to guarantee supplies to the population. With this compensation fund, all dairy farmers who were able to deliver fresh milk thanks to their favorable location had to pay two groschen per liter to support those farmers who had to process their milk into butter and cheese and thus earned less. Anyone who bought cow's milk and sold it directly to the consumer, or milk producers who sold milk directly to the consumer in built-up areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants, had to pay this tax. This should ensure that the milk is used evenly. In this way, the milk price could be kept completely stable in 1931 and 1932. The enforcement initially failed due to the western federal states, so that this law was initially only valid in Vienna Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland. Only when export conditions deteriorated in 1933 did the rest of the federal states also join. The fund administration was headed by a commission that began its work on October 1, 1931 and was under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The contributions collected were paid out to the processing companies as processing subsidies and as price compensation subsidies. The milk compensation fund was the beginning of the professionally supported, state-sponsored compensation and steering system. The system of the milk equalization fund also included price equalization amounts and processing subsidies, so that largely uniform producer prices should be achieved. In addition, there was customer protection and price maintenance agreements. Despite all these measures, the economic decline depressed demand and with it the price war, the producer prices.

On May 1, 1931, the Ministry of Agriculture issued its own milk regulation as an ordinance, in which the pasteurization of milk was prescribed for certain cities.

Foreign trade in dairy products

The emergency after the First World War meant that the tariffs on butter, cheese, clarified butter, dried milk and other dairy products were lifted, which led to steadily increasing imports. Parallel to the rising imports, the corresponding subsidies for agriculture increased domestic production. That is why the local dairy industry was protected again with the reintroduction of the milk protection tariff in 1923. Due to the increased customs tariffs in 1926 and 1927, imports could be greatly reduced until 1929, but imports were still greater than exports. That is why the customs tariff regulations were tightened again in 1931 and the import of butter, cheese and dried milk was banned by a regulation on April 28, 1932.

From 1928 onwards, more Austrian dairy products, especially butter and cheese, began to be exported. However, domestic prices were above the export level. The Austrian exporters formed an export organization in order to be able to monitor the foreign markets. In order to enable the export of Austrian dairy products, the Ministry of Agriculture paid export premiums. The main aim of export efforts was to enter into offsetting deals. Austrian butter was exchanged for German coal and German sea fish for Austrian cheese. The export was monitored by an export office and only took place against export certificates. Foreign trade in dairy products developed very favorably for Austria from 1931, imports fell sharply and at the same time exports increased enormously. Within the first four years it rose to thirteen times its value. The main exports were butter, 79.2% of which was sold to Germany, the rest went to Switzerland (17.9%), Denmark (1.3%) and Great Britain (1.2%). Imports decreased by 80% from 1929 to 1933.

In 1934 an export organization for the exporters of milk products was created; it was housed with the milk compensation fund and it managed the export of all milk products.

The milk propaganda

From 1927 to 1935 there was a milk propaganda society in Austria, which was replaced by a propaganda section at the Dairy Industry Association of Austria. This was founded in April 1927 as the "Society for the Promotion of the Consumption of Milk and Domestic Dairy Products", or milk propaganda society for short. It was a non-profit association. The milk propaganda society should serve the nutrition, public health and thus also the national economy. On the one hand, the producers should be instructed in order to improve the quality of milk and dairy products; on the other hand, consumers should be educated about the nutritional value, the high quality and the affordable price of dairy products and about the economic importance of higher milk consumption. In 1932 the milk propaganda society had 221 members. In addition to milk processing companies, butter, milk and cheese traders, chambers of agriculture, milk producers, and dairy suppliers, the chamber for workers and employees was also a member. The society was financed by the contributions of the members and also by subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Social Administration.

In order to achieve the set goals, all advertising media that were modern at the time were used. In the various offices, placards were posted across the board, there were even postmarks of their own, which encouraged the consumption of local milk and dairy products. In the grocery stores, posters were posted to demand local dairy products and information brochures were put out. There were slide shows and educational films, and samples were given out. The first milk was distributed in schools in the first year. If possible, more money was collected than the milk cost in order to finance milk for children from socially disadvantaged families with this surplus. In order to expand the school milk campaign, there was a bonus for the school with the most children who took part in the campaign. In addition, cine films were shown at the parents' meetings. To boost cheese sales, cheese weeks were held several times, following the Swedish model. During these weeks local cheeses were displayed in splendid arrangements in the shop windows. Brochures and posters encouraged customers to buy local cheeses.

The value of cheese as a food was also highlighted in radio lectures, cinema advertising and articles in the specialist and daily press. The innkeepers were encouraged to note local cheeses in the menus and to offer cheese dishes. The repeated butter campaigns served to convince consumers of the advantages of butter over synthetic fat. Offering milk was seen as one of the best propaganda tools to stimulate milk consumption. Milk was offered at various events, and milk kiosks and milk gardens were initiated in Vienna. Milk was sold in cups to those passing through at various train stations. Through these various promotions it was possible to turn the negative trade balance for milk and dairy products into a positive one.

Dairy management during the Nazi era 1938–1945

During the reign of the National Socialists, a comprehensive organization and control of the milk market was carried out on the basis of the Reich Nutrition Law and Paragraph 38 of the Milk Law. All branches of the economy were guided by numerous orders, but the agriculture and food industry was subjected to a strict, hierarchical market order. The three phases that Fink differentiates are only partially applicable to the Austrian situation, as the first phase ended in 1936 and the second phase lasted until 1939. In the first phase Austria was not yet part of the German Reich and in the second phase Austria was only connected to Germany for the last 1½ years. Only the third phase, the wartime economic phase, applies to both the German Reich and Austria. More on this in the section on Germany. After the annexation to Germany, the Austrian legislation concerning the milk market was integrated into German legislation. The milk compensation fund was thus abolished and replaced by milk and fat management associations in Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Innsbruck. The milk and fat farming associations were not limited to the dairy industry, but also concerned the egg industry, including honey and in some cases also the livestock industry.


Nazi era

The development of the dairy industry during the “ Third Reich ” can be divided into three phases. The first phase was characterized by measures to overcome the crisis and by the revitalization of the economy and lasted until 1936. The measures for this were state credit creation and job creation measures. An attempt was made to reduce the foreign dependency in the food sector and to achieve stable costs of living through extensive market organization. In the second phase until 1939, the armament resulted in civilian restrictions. The most important raw materials were managed by the state and the food sector was largely subject to state control. The Reichsnährstand was subject to Göring's four-year plan . The upgrade led to inflation, which was supposed to be slowed down by freezing prices and wages. The third, wartime economic phase began in 1939 and lasted until 1945. During this time, economic control was expanded to become a central administration economy. The agricultural products and raw materials were confiscated and private food consumption was restricted. The war economy was only a continuation of the economic management that was developed more and more from 1933 onwards. To this end, this was tightened, supplemented and exaggerated.

In 1933 the "Law to secure grain prices and the establishment of fixed prices" was passed and signaled a new dimension of state intervention in the market. Due to the connection between the grain and feed industry and the processing industry, this led to a comprehensive market organization for the more important agricultural products. In order to cope with the surpluses, there were delivery rights, which from 1934 became delivery obligations and with the beginning of the war economy, delivery obligations. The milk market regime was the first to be tackled by all agricultural market regulations and it was also a trend-setter for the other market regulations. The milk market organization was justified with the disorder of the great competitive pressure, the disproportion between the drinking and industrial milk prices, the expanding transport of milk to the metropolitan areas and the undersupply of fat. The fat economy was particularly important for the National Socialist agricultural policy. It was declared the weakest point in the food supply and thus stylized as the key to German food freedom. That is why it was also subjected to the planned economy principles of the fat plan. Through fat production incentives such as fat payment for milk or increased oilseed cultivation in peacetime, the fat supply could be maintained better during the Second World War than during the First World War.

The aim of the new market organization was to detach all of agriculture from the free market economy and thus make it a separate area in the overall economy. They wanted the farmer, who was known as the “blood source of the nation”, not to be an entrepreneur. The farmer should receive a fair price, so his economic and biological performance should be guaranteed by a corresponding share of the national income. The balance between suppliers and buyers should no longer be regulated by the free market, but should be planned and made subject to demand. Price fixing was supposed to dampen the inflationary effects of armament, therefore producer prices were hardly increased and the fair price was not realized. At the beginning, however, the upgrade also increased purchasing power and thus demand. In order not to be more dependent on imports again, the performance of agriculture should be increased. The producer slaughter was therefore declared, and agriculture was increasingly converted to produce in short supply. But something also had to be done on the consumer side. Consumers should switch to products that German soil produced. The milk producer price only reached the level of 1928/29 in 1938/39. In complete contrast to the “farmer should not be an entrepreneur” demanded by Nazi propaganda, the increase in performance required more entrepreneurial commitment. The measures against the indebtedness of agriculture and the Reichserbhofgesetz restricted access to credit and mechanization was hardly possible.


In Switzerland, supplements for milk production and milk processing are paid out on request. This is regulated in the Milk Price Support Ordinance . The Federal Office for Agriculture only published the list of allowance recipients following legal pressure from the observer . In 2012 z. For example, Emmi alone pays a cheese allowance of over CHF 43 million. This is expected to be paid out directly to the milk producers from January 1, 2022.

The new “Swissmilk green” label is due to come onto the market from September 2019 . The Foundation for Consumer Protection and WWF Switzerland are critical of the new label, as 90% of cows are already kept according to the specified criteria. The WWF compared the sustainability values of eleven milk production standards in a benchmark . Bio Suisse and, if all additional services were met, the meadow milk from IP-Suisse performed best . However, according to the IPS guidelines, only 40 of a total of 94 possible points must be achieved, which means that the average meadow milk is likely to do less well than the Bud milk. Since more and more dairy farms have been producing according to organic guidelines in recent years - 155 received the Vollknospe on January 1, 2020 - there was more organic milk available as of January 2020 than the market can sell.

Milking technology


The development of milking technology is one of the decisive factors for the current importance of the dairy industry. For millennia, cows were milked by hand , the milk being pulled out of the teat with the index finger and thumb. If there was a lack of empathy, the teat was pulled down and inflammation could occur. But it did not stop at pure hand milking, so people tried, for example, to open the teat canal with a quill pen or a straw. The first conscious attempts at mechanical milking were equally painful. As early as 1819 an attempt was made to mechanically widen the teat canal. In 1836, metal tubes were inserted into the teats for the first time; this method, in which a catheter was inserted, was the invention of the British Blurton. However, this approach had many disadvantages both in terms of hygiene and veterinary medicine. There was inflammation of the udder, which had a negative effect on the milk quality. From 1851 attempts were made to mechanically imitate the suckling of the calf. The British Hodges and Brockenden constructed a sack-like cover for the teats in which a negative pressure was created. Since the negative pressure in these one-room teat cups could only be generated on all four teats at the same time, the torture for the cow was very great, while the milk yield remained low. The negative pressure caused severe udder infections, so L. O. Colvin from Philadelphia developed a milking machine that had a separate cover for each teat. The problem of the permanent negative pressure was not solved here either, the milk was often colored pink due to the blood admixture. Intensive research was carried out on the suction process in North America. About 100 patents were registered between 1870 and 1890, but all of them failed in practice. By 1873 at the latest , milking machines based on American patents had been available in Austria, more precisely in the cisleithan half of the Habsburg Empire. These were of course highly praised by the dealer, which - as described above - was not necessarily the truth.

Current situation

Since the cows always stand in the same place in a tied stall, the milking cluster is carried to the cows in this case. A pipeline system consisting of milk and vacuum lines runs through the entire barn . The hoses of the milking harnesses are then connected to the lines.

In contrast, the cows are milked in loose stalls in a milking parlor . The milker stands lower so that the cows udders are about shoulder height. The cows are then driven into the milking parlor. Depending on the structure of the milking area, different designs can be distinguished. The most common are the herringbone milking parlor (the cows stand in a bone shape with their heads facing outwards), the side-by-side milking parlor (here the cows are parallel to each other) and the auto tandem, in which the cows stand in individual boxes . The cows stand in two parallel rows and between the rows is the pit in which the milker hires and removes the cows. Other milking systems are the rotary milking parlor and the automatic milking system . The rotary milking parlor is actually a carousel: the cows take a seat on this carousel and are immediately turned on with the milking equipment. During milking, the carousel continues to rotate slowly - the next cow takes the next free space, etc. After the cows have traveled a lap, milking is over and the animals leave the carousel again individually. The AMS is an automated milking system that does not require manual intervention for the actual milking.

For centuries, raw cow milk that was supposed to be sold has been handled in a milk collection transport. First, milk cans were placed in front of the stable. Today, the milk is pumped fresh from the farmer's steel tank into a dairy tank truck. Further processing takes place in the dairies.

Livestock farming in rearing

Immediately after birth, the calves are separated from their mothers , with the exception of suckler cow husbandry. The subsequent keeping takes place in accordance with the requirements of the Calf Housing Ordinance . This means that they are housed in boxes littered with straw or similar material for the first two weeks of life. Group housing is already possible; for individual housing, the box (e.g. calf igloos ) must have the minimum dimensions of 1.20 m in length, 0.80 m in width and 0.80 m in height. The side walls must be designed in such a way that visual and physical contact is possible with other calves.

From the third and up to the eighth week of life, 1.60 m in length for an outdoor trough or 1.80 m in length for an inner trough are required for individual boxing. The width of the box must be at least 90 cm or at least 100 cm if the side walls reach down to the floor. In the case of group housing, at least 1.5 m² per calf is required for a total area of ​​at least 4.5 m². From the eighth week, only group housing is allowed.

Bull calves and female calves that are not used for breeding are fattened in order to be slaughtered after about 12 to 18 months, depending on the system; young bull calves are called eater . Since the cost-benefit ratio according to market logic is very bad for farmers, especially for dairy cattle breeds with less meat, they receive less medical care in Germany and worldwide. Since there are also calves in organic farming that are not used for dairy farming, the Research Institute for Organic Farming, together with Lidl Switzerland and other stakeholders, has developed a system that has a positive effect on the health of the calves. Among other things, the calves must be weaned with at least 700 to 800 kilos of milk and have lived on the birthing farm for at least five months before they are moved to a pasture farm. In calves of this age, the immune system has been able to develop further and as a result they need less antibiotics after moving to the new location.

Female calves raised for breeding / dairy farming should not be too thin or too fat. At about 18 months of age, the heifers (= heifers or strong or strong or queens) are "occupied", i. that is, inseminated by natural spring or artificial insemination, so that after a gestation period of 270–290 days they calve for the first time at around 27 months. In order to ensure that the proportion of female calves at birth is as high as possible, more and more sexed semen is used in artificial insemination .


Milk production, also known as lactation , begins with the birth of the cow's first calf . Usually cows calve for the first time at 24–32 months of age. Calf and cow are usually separated immediately after birth. However, it gets the first milk of the mother, even colostrum or colostrum called. Biestmilch contains immunoglobulins that help the calf to immunize against diseases. This milk is very important for the newborn calf. In the first hours of life, the immunoglobulins in the digestive tract are transferred directly to the calf's blood and thus help to protect it against numerous barn-specific germs. The calf is rearing with other calves. The cow is then connected to the other dairy cows and is usually milked 2–3 times a day. The average lifespan of dairy cows is around four lactations in Switzerland, 2.6 lactations in Saxony (as of 2019, which means 33.5 months of use and around 5 years of life) and in the USA 1.5 lactations.

Lactation cycle

The daily amount of milk (production) initially increases after the calf is born, reaches its maximum after 4 to 6 weeks and then decreases ( lactation curve ). In order for the cycle to repeat itself, the cow is occupied again at the onset of oestrus and the first ovulation , i.e. This means that it is either artificially inseminated ( artificial insemination or AI) or covered by a bull ( natural spring ). The average duration of gestation in cattle is around 9 months, with differences between breeds in the range of days. Some time before the next calving, the cow is "dried out", i. that is, milk withdrawal through milking is stopped either abruptly or gradually (mostly abruptly, as this is likely to be less stressful for the cow). During the time of the dry period (usually a period sought by 8 weeks) that can alveolar tissue of the udder regenerate. For the purpose of comparability, the annual milk production is usually expressed as a 305-day production ("standard lactation").

Milk yield

A so-called rotary milking parlor
Rotary milking parlor from above at Hemme Milch, Wedemark

The average milk yield in Western Europe and North America is roughly between 7,000 and 11,000 kg per cow and year. In other regions, significantly lower yields are sometimes observed, for example in 2001 the average milk yield in India was between 2,000 and 5,500 kg. The most powerful breed is Holstein with well over 8,000 kg. In the cost-intensive stables that prevail in Europe and North America, the cattle breeding pays a lot of attention to the performance per cow. In the pasture-based production system, as it predominates in New Zealand, emphasis is placed on the output in kg milk protein and milk fat per hectare. This means that New Zealand cows of the Holstein breed are comparatively small and perform poorly, while Canadian Holsteins are about twice as big, but could hardly cover their energy needs on the pasture.



Because of the fermentation in the rumen , ruminants can also digest so-called structural carbohydrates . Due to the type of binding of the glucose molecules ( β-glycosidic bond ), these are essentially indigestible for monogastric animals . The basic feed for ruminants very predominantly have this type of bond. Therefore, the ruminants are not necessarily in food competition with humans, such as poultry and pigs. In addition to the basic feed, however, concentrate feed is also often fed. These are mostly energy feed (e.g. from non-structural carbohydrates such as starch or from fats ) or protein feed (such as soy or rapeseed meal). The supplement of the feed with the concentrate feed is necessary for animals with high performance in order to supply the animal with sufficient energy and protein . If the proportion of concentrated feed is too high, the ration is no longer suitable for ruminants and metabolic disorders (e.g. rumen acidosis ) can occur. In addition, the ration is partly dependent on the market, good milk prices and lower wheat or soy prices (are these two feed as the price basis for most other feed) in times higher amounts of concentrates fed. It should be noted that dairy breeds that meet the current breeding goal also react to undersupply with metabolic disorders.

In regions of the world with a different ratio of production factors to one another, the animals are mainly supplied with roughage. Low stable and basic feed costs in connection with adapted breeds, such as in New Zealand, make the use of concentrated feed uneconomical. Farms in economically poorly developed regions that are mainly farmed for self-sufficiency cannot afford bought-in forage. In areas where the production of raw milk cheese is very important , the feeding of silage is dispensed with, since the production of hard cheese is made more difficult by clostridia transferred from the silage into the milk . Silage-free milk is marketed under the Heumilch brand in some countries .

In organic farming , the proportion of concentrated feed is deliberately kept low.


The number of cells and germs in the milk are used by the dairy as a quality benchmark for the raw milk it supplies, are determined regularly (at least twice a month) and have an effect on the milk price for the respective farmer. The cell content is also regularly determined individually for each animal at breeding farms. The milk of a healthy cow is sterile in the udder. High levels of germs (bacteria) in the milk are mostly due to deficiencies in cleaning the milking system or in cooling the milk. In contrast, the increased number of cells is an indication of diseases of the udder, analogous to humans, one speaks of mastitis . Cells are often excreted in the milk as a result of acute or chronic bacterial infections of the udder. In the case of illness, it is almost exclusively cells of the immune system (especially polymorphonuclear neutrophils). The causes of udder inflammation are very diverse. Poor hygiene in the barn and during milking , unsuitable milking technology , too long a milking time ( blind milking ), contamination from other cows via the milking machine, poor feed quality and congenital deficiencies affect the udder health and thus the milk quality. In addition, stress also leads to increased cell numbers. Technically, an udder hair remover is used for better hygiene.

In principle, diseases caused by feeding and husbandry (including ketosis , milk fever , pasture tetany ) and diseases caused by viruses and bacteria (e.g. IBR (= BHV-1 , bovine herpes virus), mastitis , BSE , foot and mouth disease, etc. ) differ. Zoonoses are diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, for example directly from the milker's knot or through the consumption of raw milk from infected animals, for example. B. Bovine tuberculosis .

Shed forms and technology

The feeding system used is closely related to the type of husbandry used; The type of husbandry also has an influence on the milking technique.


The predominant form of keeping in Central Europe is stable. In principle, can be here tethering from the loose housing differ.

In addition, however seasonal grazing are (with mobile milking parlors ) and Melkalm encountered (due to transport problems, the milk is processed at Serviced locally in life products).


The cows can move freely within the barn. The stable is divided into different areas: In the lying area there are cubicles and in the eating area there are feeding stalls . There should be at least as many cubicles as there are cows, but depending on the feeding system, several cows can share a feeding stall. Further functional areas are the running area, i. H. all aisles and the milking area. The animals are brought into the milking parlor for milking (see milking technique). Depending on manure removal there are four types playpen: playpen with slatted floor or plan fixed , sloped floor and deep litter barn .

Combination posture

If cows are kept alternately in the barn with tethered housing and in the pasture, in an alpine pasture and / or in the run, this is called “combination housing”. In the barn, the cows are fixed in their place, in the run or on the alpine pasture they can move freely.

Year-round tethering

In year-round housing, the cows are fixed to their place of residence all year round and have no run. The stand is also a place to lie and eat.

Animal health

The agricultural operating system is a major factor in determining the welfare of dairy cows. Due to genetic selection, milk production in Europe has increased steadily over the last few decades. This results in changes in body shape and size. Modern dairy cows need more space. Problems such as lameness , mastitis , reproductive and metabolic disorders are avoided as much as possible in order to preserve the economic proceeds. The EFSA recommends farmers to adjust breeding goals accordingly, even if it had losses in milk performance. With sufficient exercise, they can better meet their behavioral needs such as personal hygiene, social contact and exercise. By reducing stress factors and a controlled and nutritionally balanced feed intake, the immune system of the entire herd can be strengthened.


The cattle breeds (see also breed key (cattle) ) are divided into breed groups depending on the direction of use (milk, meat, work). In addition, there is a division into single-use races (here, in the breeding efforts, emphasis is placed only on improving a performance component such as either milk or meat) and dual-use races (here, milk and meat production are weighted differently). Three-purpose breeds (which are also used as draft animals) are no longer found in modern dairy farming.

Dairy breeds are:

Dairy dual-purpose breeds are:

Dual purpose breeds with an emphasis on milk and meat production

See also


  • Agriculture / economics. 12th edition. BLV, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-405-16439-7
  • Klaus Herrmann: From the tube to the robot - the history of the milking machine. In: Helmut Ottenjann, Karl-Heinz Ziessow (Hrsg.): The milk, history and future of a food. Museumsdorf Cloppenburg, Cloppenburg 1996

Web links

Commons : Milk Production  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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