# How much of the milk is actually drink vs used for butter / cheese / ice cream?

#### PandaBear

So I guess I didn't grow up drinking a lot of milk so I have no idea how it works. Assuming every gallon of milk came out of a cow, 20% turns into butter and then the other 80% turn into the 2%, 1%, whole milk, fat free, how much of those really got consumed as milk in the morning via cereal, by the glass, and how much of it got turn into cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products?

I would imagine people from the old days know what to do to not waste them all, but what I see in most recipes are using butter and cheese instead of "milk" as is in cooking. Things do not add up based on my limited observation. I don't believe most of the fat free milk got dumped just so that we can have enough butter.

1 gallon of whole milk can provide:

1 quart of cream
which can be churned into half a pound of butter
one pound of hard cheese
or two pounds of soft cheese
5.5 pounds
of yogurt

To more closely answer your question as it pertains to my dairy consumption, 80% of my dairy consumption is in the form of cheese and yogurt/kefir/buttermilk, 10% in the form of butter and the remainder is milk and cream (sweet and sour) which I use when cooking and baking. I have never drunk milk as a beverage with the exception of an occasional cup of hot cocoa since I never was a baby bovine. By the way, you can buy pasteurized human breast milk.

1 gallon of whole milk can provide:

1 quart of cream
which can be churned into half a pound of butter
one pound of hard cheese
or two pounds of soft cheese.
5.5 pounds
of yogurt

To more closely answer your question as it pertains to my dairy consumption, 80% of my dairy consumption is in the form of cheese and yogurt/kefir/buttermilk, 10% in the form of butter and the remainder is milk and cream (sweet and sour) which I use when cooking and baking. I have never drunk milk as a beverage with the exception of an occasional cup of hot cocoa since I never was a baby bovine. By the way, you can buy pasteurized human breast milk.
How do you use that much cheese / yogurt / buttermilk? My assumption was people consume butter with bread and pastry, cook with it, and cheese is consumed either in pasta / sandwich as well but I didn't realize it can be a 3x-8x ratio.

Last edited:
Where did I say how much daily I eat? I eat cheese either with dark whole grain bread, with seed crackers, with fruit and nuts, or by itself, depending on the kind of cheese. Plain yogurt as is or as a base for a berry smoothie. I also use cheese when cooking in anything from omelets to casseroles. I do not eat that much dairy. Maybe a bit over half a pound of dairy products altogether per day. I use butter mostly for cooking, for example when making scrambled eggs. If I have a lot of yogurt I will cut down on or skip the cheese that day. I estimate my butter consumption at to be no more than 1 tablespoon per day.

New Zealand is a major dairy producer - most of the milk solids are turned into milk powder and exported.

A gallon of milk does not have a quart of cream. No way.

I suspect a portion of skim milk gets turned into milk powder for various things like Hershey bars.

A gallon of milk does not have a quart of cream. No way.

I suspect a portion of skim milk gets turned into milk powder for various things like Hershey bars.
It’s more like a pint.

I'd be willing to be that only a quarter of milk produced ends up as milk on the shelf.

Here's a diagram to maybe answer the OP's question. I didn't peruse the article too much - not sure if milk fat production corresponds to product consumption: https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-wave...-among-dairy-products-have-shifted-over-time/

This 2014 article states about 63% of dairy products are milk and cheese: https://hoards.com/article-11628-two-categories-used-63-percent-of-us-milk.html

Last edited:
I don't think the general public realizes how modern agriculture is very "factory-like": VERY different from what I grew up with!

Almond milk for me, can't handle cow's milk.

Almond milk for me, can't handle cow's milk.
I enjoy unsweetened almond milk also especially in “overnight oats”

Almond milk for me, can't handle cow's milk.
I add cream, vanilla and almond extract to the unsweetened stuff making a much tastier concoction, add 2ts of xylitol for even more pop

Here's a diagram to maybe answer the OP's question. I didn't peruse the article too much - not sure if milk fat production corresponds to product consumption: https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-wave...-among-dairy-products-have-shifted-over-time/

This 2014 article states about 63% of dairy products are milk and cheese: https://hoards.com/article-11628-two-categories-used-63-percent-of-us-milk.html

View attachment 107239
This is what I have in mind as well. I just don't think people drink that much milk even back in the days, and how much cheese people actually eat. I figure the numbers have to add up otherwise someone will be dumping fat free milk down the drain, but how do people even eat that much yogurt and cheese. Maybe the lower end "products" use dairy powder / fat free milk with vegetable oil to create a cheaper alternative, I don't know.

It’s more like a pint.
I've had milkers give me figures between half a quart and one quart of cream per gallon of whole milk. One milker claims his Jersey cows give him 1.5 quarts of cream per gallon just by skimming and not with the help of a separator. Jerseys are up there in high-fat milk. My job isn't checking inflated numbers and I don't intend to get creaming.

I've had milkers give me figures between half a quart and one quart of cream per gallon of whole milk. One milker claims his Jersey cows give him 1.5 quarts of cream per gallon just by skimming and not with the help of a separator. Jerseys are up there in high-fat milk. My job isn't checking inflated numbers and I don't intend to get creaming.
We had Jersey cows growing up on our farm. My favorite breed; loved their colors.

Obviously it doesn't go to waste. As noted, it gets used for a lot of cheeses and milk powder/protein. Whatever can't be used for human consumption can be sold as animal feed.

Skim Milk Powder, resulting from the removal of fat and water from fresh pasteurized skimmed cow’s milk, is a free flowing ingredient for use in a wide variety of animal feeds including calves, poultry, piglets, etc.​

Right from our Barn to the fridge about 3 days sitting.Raw Goat milk the girls are milking at around 5% Butterfat
The spoon was a pull from the top of jars.

It is somewhat interesting in that skim milk exports (to any country) from Canada were restricted via punitive tariffs as a result of the renegotiation of NAFTA into the U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement. There was talk about it being one of things that made things a bit difficult during the recent infant formula shortage, since dry milk exports from Canada to the US pretty much ended as a result of the tariffs that kicked in.

This problem isn’t unique to Canada. As appetites move to creamier foods that rely on butter fat as a core ingredient, farmers in many countries, including the U.S., are struggling to find profitable homes for the skim milk and other byproducts that are left behind.​
By using the world price as a reference, Class 7 allowed Canadian producers to sell these products at lower prices both domestically and abroad. The scheme stood in contrast to the pricing for most other Canadian dairy products, which are kept high by a complex system of supply management employing production quotas, fixed prices and import tariffs and quotas.​
*******​
“So when the U.S. negotiated to get rid of Class 7 pricing, it clearly also sought to put limits on how much of that milk could be exported to third parties,” he said.​
Under the USMCA, prices for “non-fat solids” used to manufacture milk protein concentrates, skim milk powder and infant formula are set according to a new scheme that incorporates American pricing, and Canadian processor margins and yields. The final price is roughly similar to what is currently in Class 7, according to the Dairy Farmers of Canada.​
But exports of milk protein concentrates and skim milk powder are limited to 55,000 tonnes in the first year and 35,000 tonnes in the second year, with the threshold increasing by 1.2 per cent each year after that. All exports exceeding this amount will be subject to export taxes of 54 Canadian cents per kilogram.​

Replies
12
Views
419
Replies
65
Views
4K
Replies
10
Views
1K
Replies
227
Views
9K
Replies
32
Views
2K