Happy Cows

Happy Cows
Wikimedia Commons

It must be one of the best-kept secrets in Israel that most of the dairy farmers in Israel are equipped with an undergraduate degree in the field! Maybe a high degree of education is typical of other countries’ farmers, but not in Kansas, where I grew up. But what’s even more unusual is the success they enjoy in producing exceptional quantities of milk. While the cows in most regions give about 8,000 liters a year, Israel’s cows are much more generous with 12,000 liters each. Not only that, but the most environmentally friendly techniques are used to nourish the cows while giving back to the land, in the form of manure.

Eco Friendly Dairy Farms

Research from the Volcani Center, which was founded in 1921 as the first agricultural research organization in Palestine, reveals three ingredients that lead to Israel’s success in the dairy industry. The first one is careful breeding to produce the best milking cows. Secondly comes good nutrition. Israeli farmers put Volcani’s findings into practice by partnering with the food industry (including olive oil) to use its byproducts as feed for the cows. Rather than burying the leftovers in the desert, they are being used as nourishing feed, and at a much cheaper rates than buying or growing grain. In addition, the food that is grown in Israel for the cows uses recycled water, in yet another attempt to keep the operation eco-friendly. The third important factor is the farmer’s level of education.

Cool and Comfortable

Keeping the cows comfortable is important to their happiness. In addition to cooling the cowsheds with fans and water misters, AviMilk monitors are attached to the cows’ udders to check their wellbeing on a real-time basis. Infrared sensors alert the farmers if the cow is suffering from infection, in dietary stress or giving milk that has low fat and protein levels. Everything that affects milk output is carefully monitored.

These techniques for producing higher quantities of milk have been proven in Israel and are being shared with farmers in developing nations.