Another mooooot press release – cows and climate change

Students and staff in front of cows from the CSU Chico Organic Dairy Unit, one of the few rational educational educational programs at my local college. Click for details.

From the University of Washington, another press release making gloom where there is none. I had to laugh at this statement:

The authors also found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows, such as the cool coastal counties of Washington state.

Clustering? Seen any cattle drives on the Interstates lately? Somehow the idea that farming chooses the best location  for the crop they produce, be it animal or vegetable, seems to be a revelation to them.

By that logic, we could also say: The authors also found that grape growers and wineries are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for grapes, such as the cool coastal counties of California.

Got milk? Climate change means stressed cows in southern U.S. may have less

By Nancy Gohring, UW

“Cows are happy in parts of Northern California and not in Florida” is a good way to sum up the findings of new research from the University of Washington, said Yoram Bauman, best known as the “stand-up economist.”

Bauman and colleagues found that the decline in milk production due to climate change will vary across the U.S., since there are significant differences in humidity and how much the temperature swings between night and day across the country. For instance, the humidity and hot nights make the Southeast the most unfriendly place in the country for dairy cows. 

Their study combined high-resolution climate data and county-level dairy industry data with a method for figuring out how weather affects milk production. The result is a more detailed report than previous studies and includes a county-by-county assessment — that will be available to farmers — of the impact climate change will have on Holstein milk production in the U.S. through 2080.

The temperature at which cows start producing less milk varies across the country depending on other factors like humidity and overnight temperature swings.

The temperature at which cows start producing less milk varies across the country depending on other factors like humidity and overnight temperature swings.

Bauman, who contributed to the research while teaching for the UW’s Program on the Environment and is now a fellow at the Sightline Institute, will present the findings during this week’s Conference on Climate Change, held on the UW campus.

Scientists and the dairy industry have long known about and studied the impact of heat stress on cows’ milk production.

“Using U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, if you look at milk production in the Southeast versus the Northwest, it’s very different,” said Guillaume Mauger, a postdoctoral researcher in the UW’s Climate Impacts Group and co-author of the paper. “It’s reasonable to assume that some of that is due to the inhospitable environment for cows in the Southeast.”

Previous research into how climate affects cow milk production in the U.S. was either limited in geographic scope or was too simplistic, ignoring the impact of humidity, for instance.

But by using detailed climate data covering night and day across the entire country, the researchers made some interesting discoveries. For instance, in Tillamook, Ore., where the climate is humid and the nighttime temperature doesn’t change much, milk production begins to drop at a much lower temperature than in the dry Arizona climate. Tillamook cows become less productive starting at around 15 C, or 59 F, while those in Maricopa, Ariz.,  start making less milk at around 25 C, or 77 F. In humid Okeechobee, Fla., cows become less productive at about the same temperature but losses increase at a much faster rate than in Arizona.

Fortunately for cows in Tillamook, however, the temperature there doesn’t stray upward often and so actual milk losses are negligible, the researchers said. In Maricopa, the mean daily losses in summer, when the temperature soars, reach nearly 50 percent.

The study found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows.

The study found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows.

The authors also found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows, such as the cool coastal counties of Washington state.

But the outlook isn’t good for areas across the southern U.S. where cows are already less productive in the heat of the summer.

“Perhaps most significantly, those regions that are currently experiencing the greatest losses are also the most susceptible: they are projected to be impacted the most by climate change,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

Still, there’s a notable silver lining in the report. While the researchers project that dairy production averaged across the U.S. will be about 6 percent lower in the 2080s than at the start of the century, other factors are likely to actually boost milk production even more.

“Management practices and breeding are on track to double milk production in Holsteins in the next 30 or 50 years,” Mauger said. “So while a 6 percent drop is not negligible, it’s small compared to other positive influences.”

The research could be valuable to farmers looking to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of methods for keeping cows cool. “You can pick up dairy cows and truck them elsewhere,” said Bauman, who noted that ranchers looking to expand could make decisions based on climate.

The researchers plan to make the data freely available so that farmers can look up their counties and find how the climate may affect their cows.

Other co-authors are Eric Salathé, an assistant professor at UW Bothell and member of the UW’s Climate Impacts Group, and Tamilee Nennich of Purdue University.

The researchers hope next to look at the impact climate has on other barnyard animals, such as pigs, and other effects, such as mortality rate, that rising temperature might have on cows.

The Conference on Climate Change is put on by publisher Common Ground and will take place in the UW’s William H. Gates School of Law building on Thursday and Friday.

###

Doing  a little searching, I come to a different conclusion. The cows seem happy all over:

Source: The Changing Landscape of U.S. Milk Production/SB-978 Economic Research Service/USDA

I wonder if the “stand-up economist.” bothered to read/cite the USDA report The Changing Landscape of U.S. Milk Production and it’s impact on the green coffee and creamer industry ?

As the graph below shows, even though the southeast lost regional share (as did many regions) according to the above graph, milk production per cow in the southeast was up significantly.

Yeah, it must be climate change.

About these ads
This entry was posted in Ridiculae, Agriculture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

75 Responses to Another mooooot press release – cows and climate change

  1. Otter says:

    All I have to say is ‘In a pig’s sty’
    That was mooooving.
    I think I know what a ‘stand-up’ economists’ Other job is…

    (gah. No luck for puns, and no time to think of more)

  2. Sera says:

    “The overall number of milk cow operations continues to decline in the
    United States. There were 123,700 milk cow operations in the U.S. in
    1997 compared to 97,560 in 2001, a decline of 21 percent. During this
    same period, milk cow inventory declined from 9.25 million head in 1997
    to 9.12 million head in 2001. Despite the decrease in milk cow
    operations and inventory, milk production increased 6 percent, from
    156,091 million pounds in 1997 to 165,336 million pounds in 2001, as
    large operations increased their share of production.

    Geographically, milk production continues to migrate to the western
    States, primarily from the southeastern and midwestern States. Comparing
    pounds of milk produced in 2001 to 1997, States showing the largest
    increases were California, Idaho and New Mexico (Figure 1). The only
    western State that did not show an increase was Wyoming. The largest
    declines occurred in Texas, Missouri and Minnesota.

    Furthermore, milk cow inventory and milk production are
    shifting to the western half of the United States. Specifically, in the
    last five years there has been substantial increases in both total milk
    production and milk cow inventories in California, Idaho and New Mexico.

    http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/dairy-herd/specda02.txt

    We have had several small milk producers here in GA go bust from regulation, but none because of heat.

  3. One sided study: There are also places where it is too cold for cows.

  4. Otter says:

    Richard! Are you sure? Where else would we get milk shakes and ice cream from……?

  5. Sera says:

    Richard is correct. In the southern states they do the calving in summer, while the northern states do it in the winter. Also- spring/summer milk is better than autumn/winter milk because of the fat content (new grass vs stored hay), so you would want to move your cows accordingly.

  6. pouncer says:

    ” the idea that farming chooses the best location for the crop they produce, be it animal or vegetable, ” is backwards, IMO.

    Farming is about choosing the most productive crop or livestock for the location. That is, the location is pretty darned fixed. But over seasons or longer periods the owner can choose to change from wheat to sunflowers or from raising sheep to raising cattle. Productive in this sense also means serving market demands so if the number of customers and prices paid for mutton, or high-gluten flour, drops, while more people pay higher prices for beef, then the same pasture land is likely to be re-purposed.

  7. View from the Solent says:

    “The overall number of milk cow operations continues to decline in the
    United States. ……….. Despite the decrease in milk cow
    operations and inventory, milk production increased 6 percent,”

    So efficiency of production increased. And the problem is?

  8. pouncer says:

    Ah, another factor. Where milk production is most strongly subject to government market interventions — price controls, subsidy, “organic” labeling requirements — there will be less such production (as has been seen in the US northeastern states); while areas with less intervention will see increasing production.

    My hypothesis is the regulatory “climate” may be driving and feedbacking more changes than the weather.

  9. garymount says:

    Canada’s supply management system has a far greater affect on the cow population than “climate change”.
    “The right to a cow’s worth of milk production, for example, runs to about $28,000, meaning a farmer looking to get into the industry faces an initial outlay, for the typical 60-cow farm, in excess of $1.5-million — just for the quota, never mind the cows, the barn and the rest.”

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/06/22/andrew-coyne-martha-hall-findlays-attack-on-supply-management-is-good-for-her-better-for-the-liberals/

  10. polistra says:

    Just for fun I checked Canada, using this nice website:
    http://www.dairyinfo.gc.ca/index_e.php?s1=pb#publication

    Since Canada is sort of 2-dimensional, with no real north-south distinctions between the provinces, it shouldn’t be as sensitive to temperature change.

    After a bit of Excelling to get a percent, we see a west-east pattern that agrees with the US. Production is up everywhere from 2007 to 2012, but the increase is more in the west than the east.

    http://ockhamsbungalow.com/blog32/canmilk.jpg

    So whatever is happening, it’s not overall increase in temp. May be an ENSO thing, since the west and east are differently affected by EN/LN, or may be a cultural thing with Western farmers more willing to adopt new methods…?

  11. Kaboom says:

    It would seem that diary farmers in the UK and Germany could only wish for climate change limiting milk supply. In both countries there were/are protests over the pressure on milk prices that squeezes them out of business.

  12. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Milk is produced near where it is consumed, rising transportation costs are a disincentive for long transports of refrigerated products, humans consume lots of liquid milk and milk products that can be efficiently processed and made locally and regionally.

    Thus I see the cows are clustering around the most comfortable areas for humans, going by population density.

    When “climate change” forces humans to turn away from cows and get our dairy products from a species historically resistant to warm arid conditions, namely goats, then I’ll worry. Goat cheese, maybe. But goat ice cream?

  13. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    I blame the people who make wine. Everyone is switching from milk to wine.

  14. Paul Coppin says:

    Some of these people really to get out more. No, I mean it, really need to get out more. You’re beginning to see the societal effect of cradle-to-grave urbanization. A complete detachment from reality that comes from generations living in a cocooned, artifically maintained, environment. The “clustering” of dairy farmers is epidemiologist-speak for a phenomenon that should have been intuitively obvious to the observers. What the observation really shows is that the observers no longer relate to a natural environment, and now view the natural world as the abstraction of their cocooned reality, rather than the other way around. This problem infects the whole of climate “science”.

  15. Filbert Cobb says:

    In the eastern counties of the UK, the soils/climate net outcome is often described as “droughty for grass”. It’s wetter in the west. More grass grows there.
    Guess where the concentration of the UK dairy industry is, such as is left of it.

  16. philjourdan says:

    Shocking! Wisconsin and the North east have an unfair cheese advantage!

  17. Disko Troop says:

    The great thing about these kinds of “studies” is that now another group of citizens, namely farmers, will look at climate change research and call BS. They know that the problems are from over regulation not climate change. We need a study on I-phones saying that CAGW will reduce their range and make calls more expensive followed by one on Trainers blaming the increase in foot odour on climate change then everyone will realise it is BS.

  18. tango says:

    one of the main reason that dairy farms are closing 1/ low milk price 2/ to many rules and regulations

  19. ddpalmer says:

    “of the impact climate change will have on Holstein milk production”

    And just where did the Holstein breed originate? Well the Netherlands, which happens to have a climate like the cool coastal counties of Washington state rather than the hotter temperatures of the southern United States. So maybe the issue is with the breed studied and maybe another breed (or a new breed) of dairy cow would be happy and produce just fine in the hotter climates.

  20. Mike Ozanne says:

    So this research would be from the alternate universe where India doesn’t produce 50000 tonnes of cow milk a year?

  21. Ric Werme says:

    The authors also found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows,

    In my experience, old time dairy farmers cluster at the local greasy spoon after morning milking to gripe about the latest decrease in milk prices and also in the late summer at the local county fair.

    Of course, larval dairy farmers cluster with the local 4-H group after school.

  22. cd_uk says:

    Surely, this is all in jest? Surely(?)!

  23. Paul Coppin says:

    polistra says:
    July 12, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Just for fun I checked Canada, using this nice website:
    http://www.dairyinfo.gc.ca/index_e.php?s1=pb#publication

    Since Canada is sort of 2-dimensional, with no real north-south distinctions between the provinces, it shouldn’t be as sensitive to temperature change.

    After a bit of Excelling to get a percent, we see a west-east pattern that agrees with the US. Production is up everywhere from 2007 to 2012, but the increase is more in the west than the east.

    http://ockhamsbungalow.com/blog32/canmilk.jpg

    So whatever is happening, it’s not overall increase in temp. May be an ENSO thing, since the west and east are differently affected by EN/LN, or may be a cultural thing with Western farmers more willing to adopt new methods…?

    — or maybe its the rate at which livestock acreage is going out of production in eastern Canada. As more and more suburban agricultural land gets acquired for future urban development, the first to go are the livestock operations. The land is then rented back out for commodity crops like corn, soy, beans, oats and barley, until the developer is ready to put the subdivision in.

  24. Bill Tuttle says:

    “You can pick up dairy cows and truck them elsewhere,” said Bauman, who noted that ranchers looking to expand could make decisions based on climate.

    Yup. Rather than, say, making decisions based on the availability — and the price — of actual *land* sufficient to support 1,300 head….

  25. tarpon says:

    look out for clusters of global warming hoaxers telling their cows and sheep lies.

  26. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    cd_uk said July 12, 2012 at 5:30 am:

    Surely, this is all in jest? Surely(?)!

    It’s amazing that lots of people think it cud be true.

  27. JJ says:

    I thought that, in order to prevent the ‘global warming’ from killing us all, we were supposed to stop keeping livestock altogether. Methane from cow farts cooking the planet and all that.

    Given that one of the draconian ‘solutions’ being pushed to stop ‘global warming’ is the 100% elimination of livestock production, isn’t studying the marginal loss of livestock productivity due to ‘global warming’ a complete waste of money?

  28. Pamela Gray says:

    Regulations wiped out the entire dairy operation in the far NE area of Oregon. Now you can’t even get fresh milk products from private farmer food stands. Nanny fricken guv’mnt.

  29. Dyrewulf says:

    Reminds me of the Chick-Fil-A ‘Eat more chicken!” billboards :) (The cow pun will keep me rolling better than a cup of coffee today…)

  30. tgmccoy says:

    There is a high nitrogen content in this study. Suggest it be spread on the nearest fallow field.
    might need to mellow befroe planting.

  31. Dodgy Geezer says:

    “…The authors also found that dairy farmers are already clustering in the most comfortable areas for cows, such as the cool coastal counties of Washington state….”

    That’s nothing! After extensive research, I found that financiers tend to cluster around the City of London, and coal miners cluster round the Ruhr Valley and the Saar.

    Also, if coal miners were forced to move to Hawaii because of climate change, their coal production figures would plummet to zero. If this effect were replicated throughout the planet, and the same thing were to happen to oil, gas, hydro and nuclear, then wind and photovoltaic power would become a credible industry.

    Can I have my grant now?

  32. Chuck Nolan says:

    “Fortunately for cows in Tillamook, however, the temperature there doesn’t stray upward often and so actual milk losses are negligible……
    ————-
    I’ll bet those ungrateful “fortunate cows in Tillamook” don’t even say “thank you” for all we do for them.
    ___________________________________________________

    “It’s reasonable to assume that some of that is due to the inhospitable environment for cows in the Southeast”
    ———————
    It’s reasonable to assume that all of the cows (not just some) are bred and raised for a particular environment to supply the local area milk and dairy products.

    One of my favorite quotes from the esteemed Professor Bunny, “Wadda maroon….whadda ignoramitus”
    cn

  33. Dave says:

    As a University of Washington graduate, I have to say that this article made me feel ill. I just hope the engineering school hasn’t gone off the deep end as did the supposed scientists that came up with this claptrap.

  34. John Tillman says:

    Dairy farmers from cloudy, damp Tillamook County on the coast are moving to hot, dry (& foggy or cold & windy in winter) Eastern Oregon to get closer to the hay, saving on transport costs.

  35. A quote from Professor Salathe’s Web page:

    “The B.S. in Climate Science and Policy will integrate fundamental courses in the sciences with courses in policy to train students tackle the the issue of climate change.”

    http://faculty.washington.edu/salathe/index.html

  36. Curiousgeorge says:

    Where would the cows want to live? Has anyone asked Bessie? ;)

  37. mkelly says:

    Holsteins are good for volume but not for quality. We always had some Brown Swiss (like the ones in the Chico State photo) and Gurnseys to add butter fat content.

  38. Resourceguy says:

    Dave, you should fell ashamed by this and we all need to grieve for the hollowing out of research and higher education institutions in general. They left out dark energy in the study. Oh well, they have to cite the need for further research. The basic science researchers have got to get off their stools and stop complaining about the usual gripes about academic freedom and funding levels and stand up to this rot!

  39. dp says:

    It is far more obvious looking at the cow density plot that farmers are moving their “crop” closer to population centers regardless of the weather. Also not mentioned along side milk production is demand for milk. Does the demand outstrip supply? Does price not support production? Would more supply simply be dumped down the storm gutters? What is the role of regulations on cattle farming? Has it affected the bottom line? (oh, hell yes it has – ). Doesn’t anyone know how to write a damned report anymore?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jul/5/consumers-asked-pay-more-milk-save-farms/

    MONTPELIER, Vt. — Consumers will pay a little more for coffee and chocolate to ensure the farmers who produce those foods get a fair wage, so why not ask them to pay more for milk?

    That is the notion behind a program designed to raise money for struggling New England dairy farms while educating consumers about those family businesses. Keep Local Farms urges colleges, universities and other institutions in New England to charge a little more for milk, with the extra money going to farmers in the region.

    It is among a number of nongovernment programs being set up to try to preserve small, family-operated farms as consolidation continues in the dairy industry. While Vermont is best known for its milk and cheese products, dairy farms stretch across New England. But two-thirds have closed in the past 30 years because low milk prices have made it hard for farmers to cover their feed, fuel and labor costs.

    Hmmm – now who sets milk prices. Soccer moms? This is a big problem in the US and Oz as well. Where have we recently read of government meddling in cattle affairs? WUWT!

    No more contented cows ™, either. Nothing left but disgruntled (not mad!) old bovines.
    http://www2.altagenetics.com/English/Whatsnew/20040123Carnation.htm

  40. Eyal Porat says:

    Oh this one is good!
    Yoram Bauman, by his name, is an Israeli. And as an Israeli, he should know that one of the highest milk rates comes from dairy farms that are located just north of Eilat, in Yotvata and Grophit, 2 kibbutzim in the southern Arava (just north of the tip of the red sea) – the hottest place in Israel. This place has 40+ C during the summer time… The cows are exactly the same type as those in the Netherlands and the one on the Pink Floyd album cover. :-)
    What a lot of cow sh**!

  41. Texas Rick says:

    What this shows me is the cow’s ability to adapt to changing temperature environments. note: “Tillamook cows become less productive starting at around 15 C, or 59 F, while those in Maricopa, Ariz., start making less milk at around 25 C, or 77 F.”

    I believe these are the same breed so this demonstrates the cow ability to adapt to changes in temps of up to 10 C.

  42. rmd says:

    Just talking off the top of my head here, but it occurs to me that cows don’t make milk because they’re happy, they make milk to feed baby cows. And maybe baby cows, like pretty much any baby mammal, needs more food when conditions are *less* favorable.

  43. geography lady says:

    Man has had am impact on milk production….urban areas have expanded into areas that were formally dairy farms. The MD & VA counties that surrounded DC immediately, 40-60 years ago, were prime dairy farms. But the population of DC, thanks to big governent growing, has expanded into these counties and more. So now these counties have no dairy nor beef farms, but lots and lots of housing, commercial buildings, high rises, etc. BTW…National AP where the offical temps are taken, was once surrounded by dairy and truck (vegetable) farms. Now there are high rises surrounding the AP. Wonder why the temperatures are making high records???????

  44. John F. Hultquist says:

    Many years ago there were studies of “milk sheds.” No, not that kind of shed. Back when milk did not benefit from fast transport and chilling, fresh milk had to come from close by population centers. That’s ring one of the milk shed.
    http://thediagram.com/4_5/milkshed.html
    Farther out milk had to be utilized in other ways, such as being converted to cheese – another ring in the milk shed. Family farms still existed and most had cows for personal needs. Some were small dairies providing for the needs of non-farm families.

    Kittitas County, Washington State [east of the Cascade Mountains] had 65 small dairies at one time. Today there is one. The reasons are multiple as many comments above show. The bottom line is a business has to be able to make money to survive. Being bigger helps. The cows did not all go to the cool coast. Many are in the summer-hot and winter-cold interior where land availability, regulations, nearness to Interstate highways, and profits make it possible to operate. Put the following into Google Earth:

    dairies “outlook, wa”

    A small map comes up with 5 major dairies indicated. Take the street address of each and use that in the “Fly to”- Google Earth search box.

    Then look here:
    http://www.yvnewspapers.com/visitorguide/htdocs/communities/lower_valley/sunnyside/cheese_factory.html

    The red-roofed visitor center and parking lots can be seen at

    200 Alexander Road , Sunnyside , wa [again use Google Earth]

    If you drag the “Street View” figure (orange symbol on a green disk) into the intersection at the NW corner (Midvale Road & Alexander Road) and pan around, there is a tandem milk (Milky Way) delivery headed toward the factory.

    Times change. Compare all of the above to:
    http://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/milk-delivery-wagon-sepia-nice-c1910/

  45. Bill Tuttle says:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    July 12, 2012 at 5:51 am
    It’s amazing that lots of people think it cud be true.

    If it were, it would be an udder disaster.

  46. Gail Combs says:

    More correlated with regulations and idiotic scare mongering.

    Different breeds of livestock are adapted to different climate conditions. The USA has mostly Northern European breeds. I doubt the Brahman cattle developed here in the USA from those imported from India has any problems with heat link And then there are the zebu cattle also of India used to develop the Brahman. They are thought to be the oldest breed of cattle and are true miniatures. http://www.zebucows.com/about_zebu_cattle.htm“>Zebu

    If these guy really believed their own hype they would be pushing for regulations shielding small farms preserving heritage breeds.

    …Purdue University animal sciences professor Bill Muir was part of an international research team that analyzed the genetic lines of commercial chickens used to produce meat and eggs around the world. Researchers found that commercial birds are missing more than half of the genetic diversity native to the species, possibly leaving them vulnerable to new diseases and raising questions about their long-term sustainability…..

    He said it’s also important to preserve non-commercial breeds and wild birds for the purpose of safeguarding genetic diversity and that interbreeding additional species with commercial lines might help protect the industry….

    Despite the fact that hundreds of chicken breeds exist, Muir said today’s commercial broilers descend from about three lines of chickens, and poultry used in egg production come from only one specialized line…..
    http://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2008b/081103Muirdiversity.html

    That was chickens but you find the same thing in many other domestic animals. The tale of the Quarter Horse stud colt Impressive shows just how much a single stud can influence a breed, in this case with devastating effects.

    In 1993, it was estimated that more than 55,000 Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas world-wide bore his pedigree. Impressive carried a mutation at one important site in the gene responsible for sodium and potassium regulation. The gene results in Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. It is characterized by sporadic attacks of muscle tremors (shaking or trembling), weakness and/or collapse. Sudden death can occur following a severe paralytic attack, presumably from heart failure or respiratory muscle paralysis. The article is an interesting read and includes the cover-up of the cause and tie in to the Impressive blood lines due to financial repercussions.

  47. Pamela Gray says:

    This is absolutely the most inane piece of research I have ever seen. It completely follows the expected kind of research that comes from those who believe themselves to be ever so much more intelligent and benevolent than the humans they think they are duty bound to save. And if there is one bunch of us that will set our minds permanently against letting this kind of thing happen again, it would be farmers and ranchers, the good folks that put food on each and every table all over the world.

    I tell you what, if the Democratic party does not rein in this movement soon, they will have forever nailed shut the door to every democratic senatorial and representative office they now hold. This mess will stay in our memories for quite some time and be the subject of countless books that will remain on shelves and in the chapters of school history books as much as the scourge of slavery remains to this day.

  48. gringojay says:

    Holsteins were the only breed in above study. As comment of mkelly indicates Holsteins have individual breed characteristics & USA milk industry craves their fluid volume. In my tropical region neighbor’s range herd of Holsteins have many issues; they are out of place.
    My best quality milk, with consistently lots of it, healthy udders & robustly hearty year round range fed milker is a “Red” of unknown cross breeding.
    Accepting the research that Holsteins don’t perform ideally in USA humid climate I’d suggest studying the “Polish Red” and some of the other “Red” cattle breeds. (Here’s data for cross bred Polish-Danish Red cattle for humid Thailand http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/004/X6500E/X6500E13.htm)

  49. Axel says:

    Re: kadaka
    (KD Knoebel)
    (#comment-1030578)

    it is not so unusual as you think, Goat’s Milk Ice Cream…

    Goats Milk Luxury Farmhouse Real Dairy Ice Cream
    http://www.caprilatteicecream.co.uk/icecream.htm

    Laloo’s ® is made with 100% goat’s milk. It has that
    custard-like-old-fashioned-ice-cream-parlor-taste
    http://www.laloos.com/

    The Goat Ice Cream Company (UK)
    Our Real Goats Ice cream is made the traditional
    way, using fresh Goats double cream and Goats milk
    http://www.thegoaticecreamcompany.com/

    …many other examples, but also this :
    Now, enjoy ice cream made of camel milk
    “We have spent a lot of time creating flavours that we
    feel are different and most importantly not available in
    the market,” Abdullah Saif Al Darmaki,
    the CEO of Al Ain Dairy, said.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/now-enjoy-ice-cream-made-of-camel-milk/925558/

    Buffalo Milk? Elephant Milk?
    What other beasts can you think of?

    There’s more than one way to make “ice cream”

    “Eskimo ice cream” or “Akutaq” as it is known.
    Traditionally made from the fat of Arctic animals
    (elk, polar bear, reindeer, seal), Akutaq is now
    usually made with Crisco, berries, and ground fish

    Farmers are the most resourceful and adaptable
    of all Human professions, and can find something
    to grow or produce, even in deserts like in the UAE
    or in the frozen icy north of the “Eskimo”.

  50. milodonharlani says:

    Speaking of cold climate cows, how about the Medieval Greenland Norse dairy farms, excavated from under modern permafrost?

    http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

    Gavin of GISS sarcastically blogs derisively about “vast fields of Greenland wheat” but in fact the tundra-covered farms remain a problem for the Team. They used to claim the Medieval Warm & Little Ice Age Cold Periods were limited to the North Atlantic realm, if they acknowledged them at all. But the signals are global & have long been well established in science & history.

  51. Yoram Bauman says:

    As one of the co-authors of this paper, please allow me to respond to a few comments:

    Mr Watts: Your USDA link is broken, but I found the study elsewhere (http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/sb-statistical-bulletin/sb978.aspx) and confess that I don’t understand the relevance. More generally, I’m not sure why you’re so upset with our paper. After all, I think one of the main conclusions comes from this quote from one of my co-authors in the article on our paper: “Management practices and breeding are on track to double milk production in Holsteins in the next 30 or 50 years,” Mauger said. “So while a 6 percent drop is not negligible, it’s small compared to other positive influences.”

    Richard Tol (@RichardTol) writes “One sided study: There are also places where it is too cold for cows.” If you read our paper you will find that we address this point: “We note that our estimates do not account for some of the indirect impacts of heat stress, such as reduced reproductive efficiency or availability of food and water, or for factors unrelated to climate that may influence milk production. In addition, our estimates do not include milk losses from temperatures that are too cold rather than too hot. Although such losses would be reduced in a warming climate, Kadzere et al. (2002, based on Hamada, 1971) estimate that the lower critical temperature for cows producing 30 kg of milk per day is between -37 and -16 degrees C. Cold stress therefore has a relatively small impact on dairy production in the conterminous US.”

    To the commenters who think dairy operations in the Southeast don’t need to worry about heat and humidity: What you’re saying runs counter to the existing dairy science literature: St Pierre et al. (2003), West (2003), West et al. (2003). The West papers are especially recommended because JW West is (or at least was) in the Animal and Dairy Sciences Department at the University of Georgia.

    To everyone: Look, part of the reason we did this research was a report by Hayhoe et al (2004) which estimated end-of-century losses in California’s main dairy-producing counties to be as much as 22% under a high emissions scenario. Our results for California were considerably lower. You might draw all sorts of conclusions from this result if you insist on looking at it from a political/spin perspective, but the conclusion that I draw is that our results were driven by our analysis. We took a dairy model (St Pierre et al. 2003) and combined it with climate modeling, and the results we got suggested that climate impacts on dairy production will be “measurable, but modest.”

    PS. Yes I do perform stand-up comedy about economics (http://www.standupeconomist.com), but I also have a PhD in economics. This study was from the serious side of my life; comedy about cows was done much better than I ever could by Gary Larson’s “The Far Side” :)

    Regards,
    Yoram Bauman

  52. F. Ross says:

    Did the study account for the EPA harrassment on dairy farmers everywhere in the states?

  53. atheok says:

    I and several members of my family worked on a dairy farm in our youth. Great educational benefits not to mention building body strength and endurance. Dairy farms firmly instill that work ethic that starts before daylight and end after nightfall; 24X7 * 52 weeks, every year.

    That dairy farm and every nearby dairy farm that I knew in my youth are gone. Suburban houses stand in their stead. Funny thing about dairy farms, they’re prime development property anywhere they’re near a town or city. Add to the farmers burden, tax issues, debts, USDA regulations, EPA regulations (always increasing in complexity and requirements), never a vacation, and the temptation to sell gets overwhelming when the farmer passes on.

    Dairy farms used to be established near the towns and cities, because refrigeration adds to the costs. Now milk producers are/have scaled up and distance to the city isn’t the concern it used to be.

    Another study that decided results and then sought for details that allowed them to find and validate their own ideas by ignoring all other impacts and complications.

  54. Maybe the fact that federal dairy subsidies are based on the distance one lives from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, might have something to do with this as well. The further from Eau Claire, the more subsidies you get. It’s why California (2000+miles) is now a dairy capital of the country, despite the fact that you have to bring in hay, food, and even water by the truckload to support the cows. Last I saw, California dairy farmers are receiving nearly $3 a gallon in milk subsidies, meaning they can produce a $2.80 gallon of milk at a loss and still turn a profit from their government check. In the meantime, my home town in Wisconsin went from 50,000 head of dairy cattle in 1970 to about 12,000 in 1990, with dozens of farms that had been in families for 5 or more generations being put up for auction, since California farmers had brought the price per gallon for raw milk down to sub $1 range.

    There is nothing natural about the distribution or production of dairy cattle in America any more. It is a wholly man-influenced process.

  55. R2DTOO says:

    Years ago many primary industries were located around markets owing to the transportation and storage costs of the products (von Thunen theory). Although modern transport and storage has changed this to some extent, these factors still do play a role in marketing. I would like to see a correlation between regional human population changes and the migration of diaries to the left coast. Wisconsin still is the “dairy state”, an industry based on nearby Chicago, Rockford, Milwaukee, the Twin Cities etc. Value-added products such as cheese can have a wider market distribution. These factors, combined with the urban sprawl eating up the landscape probably account for much of the observed movement. Having grown up on a diary farm, I can assure you that a couple of degrees in temperature change won’t phase a cow.

  56. Jim G says:

    Anthony,

    “Clustering? Seen any cattle drives on the Interstates lately? Somehow the idea that farming chooses the best location for the crop they produce, be it animal or vegetable, seems to be a revelation to them”

    “Best location”, not always, Wyoming has lots of beef cattle, way more than it does people, while it’s cold in winter, hot in summer, pretty much a high desert, rugged and prone to extremes of weather and pretty distant from just about anywhere as far as shipping is concerned (except for the Nebraska feed lots). We do have lots of grass, ……………sometimes. Tradition and where folks originally settled keeps the cattle business going here. Texas, I am told, raises more beef cattle than any other state, milder climate and plenty of land. Florida is probably the most per acre of available land. These fit your model much better.

  57. Paul Coppin says:

    R2DTOO says:
    July 12, 2012 at 11:56 am
    “Having grown up on a diary farm, I can assure you that a couple of degrees in temperature change won’t phase a cow.”

    QOTW? :)

  58. timg56 says:

    I think Anthony missed the boat on this one.

    Rather than take pot shots of this paper, it would have served readers better to focus on the Conference going on today and tomorrow here in Seattle. If Dave is made ill by this paper, he’ll be puking over his keyboard after taking a look at the program for the 2-day event sponsored by UW.

    It isn’t a science conference, its a conference for social engineering.

    I’ve noticed an increasing tendency to want to blast any comment, press release or paper that makes reference to climate change, whether or not it is really important. Sure we all have grown tired of seeing climate change tied to everything, but as long as government is funding it, researchers are going to try to link their research to it. That’s just the system. I don’t see this particular paper being about climate. It looks to me like a paper on regional differences in milk production.

    The conference on the other hand is ripe for ridicule. I couldn’t get beyond the first page of the program without filling with disgust. Not a single science topic. Makes me wonder if I’m wasting my time being involved in science education. I’d hate to see students I’ve helped to foster an interest in science and math and create the desire to go on to college end up exposed to crap such as is being presented at this conference.

  59. otsar says:

    Many questions arise:
    Were all these cows from the same herd book?
    Did the lesser volumes have higher or lower milk fat?
    Were the cows separated by age groups?
    Were these really Holstein or Holstein-Frisian?
    What percentage of Holstein and what percentage Frisian ancestry?
    What was the diet of the herd in each region?

    This study will probably lead to injuries in milk farmers as they fall off their milking stools laughing.
    Yoram and colleagues should be encouraged to take all of their wealth and start a porcine milking operation in Eilot. Being academic economists they can probably make a good business case for it. What a bunch of green bovine drizzle.

  60. Reg Nelson says:

    Yoram, I’m curious. How many test cows did you use in this study? How many actual measurements did you take of milk output — at various temperatures at the locations cited in your study?

    How did your actual measurements compare with the other papers you cited?

  61. woodNfish says:

    “Cows are happy in parts of Northern California and not in Florida” is a good way to sum up the findings of new research from the University of Washington, said Yoram Bauman, best known as the “stand-up economist.”

    Really? Florida is the third largest cattle producing state east of the Mississippi. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Bauman. Of course, I know better than to expect more from government funded science.

  62. otsar says:

    After I read Yoram’s reply, especially the last two paragraphs, I was overwhelmed by feeling of sadness and tragedy.

  63. Gunga Din says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    July 12, 2012 at 9:03 am
    This is absolutely the most inane piece of research I have ever seen. It completely follows the expected kind of research that comes from those who believe themselves to be ever so much more intelligent and benevolent than the humans they think they are duty bound to save.
    ===============================================================
    Oh, I’m not so sure. Wasn’t there a study awhile back about those Brits dumping milk down the drain was contributing to the dreaded “Green Monster Gas Emissions”? They say they’ll be fewer happy cows and therefore less milk produced by 2080. Maybe this is Mama Nature’s attempt to keep Gaia happy?
    (But I do wonder how Hansen knew of this study back in the ’80′s.)

  64. So this research would be from the alternate universe where India doesn’t produce 50000 tonnes of cow milk a year?

    Good point, but India produced 127 million tonnes of milk this year. More than any other country.

    http://www.nddb.org/English/Statistics/Pages/Milk-Production.aspx

  65. Marian says:

    “Gail Combs says:
    July 12, 2012 at 8:51 am
    More correlated with regulations and idiotic scare mongering.

    Different breeds of livestock are adapted to different climate conditions. The USA has mostly Northern European breeds. I doubt the Brahman cattle developed here in the USA from those imported from India has any problems with heat link And then there are the zebu cattle also of India used to develop the Brahman. They are thought to be the oldest breed of cattle and are true miniatures. http://www.zebucows.com/about_zebu_cattle.htm“>Zebu

    If these guy really believed their own hype they would be pushing for regulations shielding small farms preserving heritage breeds.”

    Exactly Gail.

    In South Africa they’ve found that Jersey cows are more heat tolerate than Holstein-Friesians.

    There’s cattle breeds that are more heat resistant. Hey they wouldn’t have cattle stations in the harsh outback of Australia. Mainly Brahman’s and Santa Gertrudis which are the favored breeds.

    It’s another AGW/CC beatup. More Bull than fact. ;-)

  66. Pamela Gray says:

    When I was a young girl, it was my job to milk the cows to feed the barn cats. Barn cats were essential parts of varmit control. After they got their fill, the adults would take over. At our own farm/ranch, we had a 4900 sq ft barn originally built in 1883, added to in 1910, and then again, some decade or two after that. The barn had three dairies, all demonstrating the different practices and types of milk cows used through the years. Even the head stalls changed in size, growing quit large by the time the dairy operation moved to its last and newest location and mechanized with “modern” methods. By the mid 70′s the valley no longer produced fresh milk products for even local consumption. To be sure, someone somewhere was getting subsidies for the milk products we had to ship in. Products the valley used to ship out. The regulations and subsidies could not have been for the purpose of lowering the cost of milk products in this far place. Somebody outside the valley was getting rich while dairy businesses closed all over this tiny valley. The milk cost the same to consumers but had to be much more expensive to ship to us. hmmmm.

  67. Duster says:

    The whole argument is – ah – well, downright ignorant. Dairy takes irrigated pasture or green forage for best production levels, Dairies in Nevada, eastern Oregon, and most of the Central Valley in California use flood irrigation or sprinklers to keep pastures green. In coastal regions that are subject to fogs and support temperate rain forests, there is far less irrigation costs. The issue is economics, not cow comfort.

  68. Brian H says:

    More illegitimate appropriation of any and every statistical trend that can be misconstrued as evidence of AGW. File under Circular, not for Recycling.

  69. DEEBEE says:

    Eyeballing, even at the worst the decline looks like about 2-3 percent per degree C. Using IPCC overestimate we are fussing about a blip in production over a period of a century. FAIL

  70. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Here’s a concise read on the subject, mentioning improved weather, relaxed environmental regulations and other factors. Considerations in the Dairy Relocation Decision
    Another consideration is access to less expensive labor. Some monster dairy operations have been set up in New Mexico and Texas recently to take advantage of immigrant labor prices.

    As far as hot weather, I consult to LaLa Grupo in Torreon, MX. Fantastic region for dairy production, and LaLa is now moving into US markets (they bought the Borden’s brand name).

  71. Tim Clark says:

    ddpalmer says:
    July 12, 2012 at 4:55 am
    “of the impact climate change will have on Holstein milk production”

    “And just where did the Holstein breed originate? Well the Netherlands, which happens to have a climate like the cool coastal counties of Washington state rather than the hotter temperatures of the southern United States. So maybe the issue is with the breed studied and maybe another breed (or a new breed) of dairy cow would be happy and produce just fine in the hotter climates.”

    I concur.
    All breeds of dairy cattle into the USA came from somewhere colder than the lower tier states. Unless you know someone brave enough to milk Brahmas. This paper is complete milkcow sh!t.

    http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/

  72. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    ¡Las vacas de Torreón, Mexico!
    http://s1043.photobucket.com/albums/b439/cstack3/?action=view&current=DSCN0330.jpg

    These are some healthy, happy & productive Holsteins producing high-quality fluid milk for LaLa Grupo. Those folks run excellent facilities! The way they run these stalls, their milk would actually come close to USDA “organic” without any problem. When I told management, they took note of that. Look for LaLa in your American dairy case, we have it all over Chicago now (LaLa’s American offices are in Dallas).

    Torreón would not qualify as a “cool coastal” area, but the cows really don’t give a flop. I think they are enjoying the warm breeze. If climate change brings this type of weather to Wisconsin, fluid milk output will rise.

  73. Marian says:

    “Tim Clark says:
    July 13, 2012 at 7:32 am
    “ddpalmer says:
    July 12, 2012 at 4:55 am
    “of the impact climate change will have on Holstein milk production”

    “And just where did the Holstein breed originate? Well the Netherlands, which happens to have a climate like the cool coastal counties of Washington state rather than the hotter temperatures of the southern United States. So maybe the issue is with the breed studied and maybe another breed (or a new breed) of dairy cow would be happy and produce just fine in the hotter climates.”

    And an interesting fact about holstein-friesians.

    The best heat tolerant bred Holsteins-Friesians are the ones from the USA, Israel and NZ and they’re also considered the best of their type!.

  74. Did these students consider the species of cattle? The best milk needs lush grass. If you want milk you farm a species that gives a lot of milk per unit of food intake, like Jersey/Guernsey for the creamiest milk, but if you want the best beef you use a species that gives the highest meat quantity. There is not a single species that gives both. Even crosses cannot give both.

  75. Mike Ozanne says:

    @ Phillip Bradley

    Meant 50 million as about 55% of the production is buffalo milk.

    Shows you shouldn’t try and type long rows of 0′s on a mobile when in an airport check in line….

Comments are closed.