How long do cows give milk?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long do cows give milk?”, and how to get a higher milk yield?

The article also includes a brief guide on different cow breeds that give the highest milk yields. 

How long do cows give milk?

Typically, cows all over the world give milk for about 10 months a year, the remaining two months are the rest periods for the cow. It is also termed as the ‘dry period’ because there is no milk production and the cow is taking rest and getting prepared to give birth to a calf if she is pregnant. 

During this period the nutrition needs of the cow are adjusted accordingly because during pregnancy the needs and requirements of the cow are different.

Different farmers also consult veterinary or animal nutritionists to modify the diet of cows to ensure the healthy birth of a calf from a healthy cow. 

Dairy cows are reared in such a way that they either become comfortable with the daily routine milking or become unhealthy and ill. Cows are milked twice a day, the milking process varies from breed to breed and season to season.

Farmers usually wake up early, go to the farm and start milking. They guide their cows to the milking station. First of all, farmers clean the cow’s udder. Then they start milking by attaching the suction machine to the udder. Within eight minutes, milking is completed.

A similar process is done in the evening and that’s how the cow is milked twice a day.

The cow udder has four teats and can take up to two to three days to convert the food consumed into milk. 

On average a cow can produce roughly 25 to 40 liters of milk a day and these numbers also depend on the breed, health, the breeding season, and technique. 

This milk is then stored in milk tanks and distributed accordingly. 

Global production of cows

From ancient times, humans have been using cows to get milk to fulfill their nutritional requirements. Today the cows are specifically bred to produce large quantities of milk and to meet the consumers’ demand globally. 

The dairy cow must give birth to a calf once a year to continue milking. For this purpose, sometimes cows are selectively bred to produce the milk and give birth to calves.

There are about 260 million milk-producing cows all over the world with North America on top with 10 million cows. All over Europe, there are 23 million of them while New Zealand has 6 million cows.

Top 6 highest milking cow breeds

There are more than 800 cow breeds in the world but not all of them are best for milking purposes that’s why some of them are used for beef production too. 

Different breeds are made to increase beef production to meet global requirements. Similarly, many breeds of cows are specially made to get more milk and to increase dairy production. 

The top 6 cow breeds are classified as the best breed for the highest milk production per day which are as follows:

Holstein cattle breed 

Holstein or Holstein-Friesian cow or Friesian cow is considered the best cow in the category of milk production not only in America but all over the world. This cattle can give up to 32,750 liters of milk in a single year that is exceptional as compared to the normal cow breed.

Norwegian cattle breed

Norwegian cattle is called Norwegian red cattle breed or NRF is known globally for its milk production. This cow breed can give up to 10000 liters of milk annually. 

Kostroma cattle breed

Kostroma cattle along with milk production also have a high life expectancy of up to 25 years. That makes it outstanding in terms of both, milk production and age. This cow breed can give up to 10,000 liters of milk in a year.

Brown Swiss cattle breed

Due to the high protein content in milk, this breed is famous in the cheese industry. It also has high milk production of about 10,000 liters annually. 

Swedish red cattle

Swedish red cattle are also known as red and white cattle due to their shades of red and white. It is famous for its healthy body structure and milk production. This 140 cm high cattle with 600kg weight can provide up to 8000 liters of milk per year. 

Ayrshire Cattle Breed

Ayrshire Cattle Breed is simple to raise. The cattle breed produces milk of 7,831 liters each year and the weight is 600 kg.


In this article, we answered the question “How long do cows give milk?”, and how to get a higher milk yield?


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.