What is the optimal amount of milk for a cow to give? This is an ongoing debate and varies from region to region and from ranch to ranch. Higher milking cows tend to wean larger calves when adequate feed is available. However, this does not come without a cost. High-milking cows require more feed than low-milking cows. We prefer a milk EPD in the low-to-mid teens. Most of our cows fall in this range. Across most breeds, milk is trending strongly upward. Most of the popular Angus AI sires have milk EPD’s in excess of +20 and many are in excess of +30. We strongly believe this is too much milk for our environment. Below are some facts about milk production.

From 1990 to 2010 the average Angus milk EPD went from +5 to +21.

High-milking cows have a greater energy requirement than low-milking cows of similar size during both lactation and dry periods.
Mathis et al., 2010

Research shows, because of their greater energy requirement, a high-milking cow may require nearly 800 lbs more forage per year than a low-milking cow of a similar size.
Mathis et al., 2010

Calves from high-milk parentage have an estimated 11% higher energy requirements than calves of low-milk parentage.
Montano-Bermudez et al., 1990

Longer intervals between calves are consistently observed in young cows with high genetic ability for milk and growth compared to same-age females with lower growth and milk genetics.
CowTek Inc., 2000

Research indicates as cow body size and milk production increased from medium/medium to large/high there is a tendency for reduced longevity.
MacNeil et al., 1994