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  • Esther Pfister

Did you do your "Milchbüechlirächnig"?

A cow delivered about 15 litres of milk per day in the 1950s. Today, "high-performance" cows deliver up to 50 litres of milk per day. Milk production more than tripled, but cows are still cows. Isn't that crazy?! A simple calculation that tells me, that todays cow milk production might be not so natural.

In Switzerland we have the very nice expression "Milchbüechlirächnig" - which means a very simple "plus/minus" calculation. This expression comes from the times of my grandfather, when the farmers would write up in a little booklet (the "Milchbüechli", literally the milk notbook) how much milk they delivered to the cheese dairy in the village. At the end of the month, they would be paid.

Since my grandparents were farmers in Switzerland, my father still has some original "Milchbüechli" from my grandfather. It lists how much milk a cow would give per day. It used to be around 15lt/day per cow. Today, there are high production cows that give up to 50lt/day! On average, the milk production per cow increased 37% in the twenty years between 2000 and 2020 and it almost doubled since the 1950s. To me, that sounds simply crazy - because the cows on the photos of my grandfather look very similar to the cows I see on the meadows today.

Milk per cow per year in Germany, Source:

Of course, there are several factors that increase the "productivity" of cows (this already sounds weird, right?) like better feed, better health and also natural selection of "high performing" cows. But it all as well sounds a little bit like exploitation of animals.

After having produced milk mylself while breastfeeding my two daughters, I have experienced that it is actually "using" you, to produce milk. So I assume, it's also using the cows, that produce the milk for our dairy production.

So here I am today: Leading a startup that wants to take the cow out of the equation when it comes to dairy production. To me, this is a simple "Milchbüechlirächnig", that it would be better if we could do it without the cow! So let's do it!

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