European Cow Milk Production Map
This interactive map shows cow milk production in Europe's territories. Darker pink shades represent a higher milk production. For exact amounts, territory name, and country, hover over the map. For more detail zoom in. For more information, scroll down.
Milk (1000 tonnes)
Cow Milk Production in Europe
Europe is one of the largest milk-producing regions in the world due to a combination of factors.
Dairy farming has been a part of European agriculture for centuries, and many regions have a strong tradition of raising dairy cattle.
Many regions in Europe have a temperate climate, with plenty of rainfall and fertile soil, which is ideal for growing the crops that dairy cattle need to eat.
Additionally, the geography of Europe is favorable to dairy farming, with many rolling hills and grassy meadows that are perfect for grazing cows.
Many European governments have policies in place to support dairy farming, including subsidies, price supports, and other forms of financial assistance.
European consumers have a strong demand for dairy products, which has helped to drive milk production in the region.
Total EU milk production is estimated to be around 155 million tonnes per year. The main producers are Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Italy, and Ireland. Together they account for almost 70% of EU milk production.
Milk in Lombardy, Italy
The largest milk production region in Europe is the Po Valley or the Lombardy region, which is located in northern Italy.
Dairy in Brittany, France
Lombardy is followed by the Brittany region and the Pays-de-la-Loire in southern France.
Brittany is a region in Western France that is known for its high-quality dairy production, particularly milk and butter. The region is home to many dairy farms that raise cows specifically for milk production.
In 2020, Brittany was the largest milk-producing region in France, accounting for approximately 28% of the country's total milk production.
In that year, Brittany produced around 6.9 billion liters of milk, which is used to make a variety of dairy products.
The dairy industry is an important part of Brittany's agricultural sector, and it provides jobs and economic growth for the region. Brittany is also known for its high standards of animal welfare, which has helped to maintain the region's reputation for producing high-quality dairy products.
Overall, Brittany is a significant milk-producing region in Europe, and its dairy industry plays an important role in the region's economy and culture. Source: French Ministry of Agriculture. "Statistiques laitières." French Ministry of Agriculture, 2021, Agriculture France.
Dairy in Ireland
Ireland is another top milk producer in Europe.
Ireland is one of the largest milk-producing countries in Europe. Dairy farming is a vital sector of the Irish economy, and the country is known for its high-quality dairy products such as cheese, butter, and yogurt.
In 2020, Southern Ireland produced around 7.3 billion liters of milk, according to data from the Central Statistics Office of Ireland. This makes it the ninth-largest milk producer in the European Union, accounting for approximately 3% of the total milk production in the EU.
The majority of milk production in Southern Ireland comes from grass-fed cows, which are raised on the country's lush green pastures.
The country's mild climate and ample rainfall provide ideal conditions for dairy farming, and many dairy farmers in the region practice sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods.
The dairy industry is a significant employer in Southern Ireland, providing jobs and income for many rural communities.
The industry is also a major exporter, with a large portion of Irish dairy products being exported to countries such as the United Kingdom, China, and the United States. Reference: CSO.
Dairy in Poland
Poland is one of the largest milk-producing countries in Europe, with a significant dairy industry that is an important part of the country's agricultural sector.
Dairy farming in Poland is mostly focused on cow milk production, and the country is known for producing a variety of dairy products such as cheese, butter, and milk powder.
In 2020, Poland produced around 11.8 billion liters of milk, making it the fifth-largest milk producer in the European Union, according to data from the European Commission. The majority of milk production in Poland comes from small and medium-sized dairy farms, which are scattered throughout the country.
The Polish dairy industry has undergone significant modernization and development in recent years, with increased investment in technology and infrastructure.
Many Polish dairy farms have implemented sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming practices, such as using renewable energy sources and reducing waste.
The dairy industry is an important employer in Poland, providing jobs and income for many rural communities.
The industry is also a significant exporter, with a large portion of Polish dairy products being exported to countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, and China.
Overall, Poland is a significant milk-producing region in Europe, and its dairy industry is an important part of the country's economy and culture. Reference: Milk Observatory.
Milk Consumption in Europe
The largest milk consumers in Europe are Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.
According to a report by Eurostat, in 2020, Germany had the highest per capita milk consumption in the European Union, with an average consumption of 224.4 kg per person per year.
France and the United Kingdom ranked second and third, respectively, with average per capita milk consumption of 209.4 kg and 203.7 kg per person per year.
Other countries in Europe with high milk consumption include the Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria. These countries also have a strong dairy industry, and milk is a staple food in their diets.
It's important to note that milk consumption has been declining in some European countries due to health concerns and a shift towards plant-based alternatives.
However, milk remains an important part of the European diet and is a key ingredient in many traditional dishes and foods. Reference: Eurostat.
Main Milk Products in Europe
Europe produces a wide range of milk products, including:
- Cheese: Europe is famous for its cheese production, with a wide variety of traditional cheeses made from cow, sheep, and goat milk. Some of the most well-known European cheeses include cheddar, brie, camembert, gouda, parmesan, and feta.
- Butter: Butter is another important milk product in Europe, used for cooking, baking, and spreading on bread. European butter is known for its high fat content and rich, creamy flavor.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is a popular dairy product in Europe, with many different types and flavors available. Greek yogurt, which is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, has become especially popular in recent years.
- Milk powder: Milk powder is a convenient way to preserve milk and extend its shelf life. It is used in a wide range of applications, including baking, cooking, and making infant formula.
- Cream: Cream is a key ingredient in many European desserts, including whipped cream, crème brûlée, and panna cotta.
- Ice cream: Ice cream is a beloved dessert in Europe, with many unique and interesting flavors available. Italy is particularly famous for its gelato, a type of ice cream that is denser and richer than regular ice cream.
- Condensed milk: Condensed milk is a thick, sweet milk product that is used in a variety of desserts and baked goods. It is especially popular in Eastern Europe and Russia.
These are just a few examples of the many milk products that are produced and consumed in Europe. The specific products and their popularity may vary by country and region.
Differences Between American and European Milk
There are several differences between European and American milk, including:
In Europe, raw or unpasteurized milk is more widely available and consumed, whereas in the United States, pasteurized milk is the norm. Pasteurization is a process of heating milk to kill any harmful bacteria or pathogens.
European Union regulations prohibit the use of hormones in milk production, whereas in the United States, hormones are commonly used to increase milk production. Antibiotics are also used more frequently in American dairy farming.
Fat content: European milk typically has a higher fat content than American milk, with whole milk typically containing 3.5% fat compared to the 3.25% fat found in American whole milk.
European milk tends to have a different composition than American milk. For example, European milk typically contains more A2 beta-casein, a protein that some people find easier to digest than A1 beta-casein, which is more commonly found in American milk.
European milk is often sold in refrigerated cartons that can be stored at room temperature until opened, whereas American milk is typically sold in refrigerated jugs or cartons that must be kept cold at all times.
This is because European milk is often treated with a process called ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurization, which gives it a longer shelf life.
It's important to note that these differences can vary depending on the specific country and region within Europe and the United States. Source: Food and Wine.
Dairy Cow Breeds
There are several dairy cow breeds that are commonly used in Europe for milk production. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Holstein-Friesian: The Holstein-Friesian is the most common dairy breed in Europe, known for its high milk production, large size, and black and white markings.
- Brown Swiss: The Brown Swiss is a large breed with a gentle temperament that is popular in Switzerland and other parts of Europe. Their milk is often used for cheese production. Swiss Genetics.
- Jersey: The Jersey cow is a smaller breed with a high butterfat content, making its milk ideal for producing butter and cheese. Jerseys are often used in smaller-scale dairy operations in Europe. Jersey.
- Guernsey: The Guernsey is another smaller breed with a rich, creamy milk that has a high butterfat and protein content. Guernseys are commonly used in dairy farming in the Channel Islands and other parts of Europe.
- Ayrshire: The Ayrshire is a breed that originated in Scotland and is known for its hardiness and adaptability to different climates. Their milk is often used for cheese production in Europe.
- Montbéliarde: The Montbéliarde is a breed that originated in France and is known for its high milk production and ability to thrive in mountainous regions.
- Dutch Belted: The Dutch Belted is a breed from the Netherlands that is known for its distinctive black and white markings and high milk production. Dutchbelted.
These are just a few of the many dairy cow breeds used in Europe for milk production. Each breed has its own unique characteristics and is often chosen by farmers based on factors such as milk production, butterfat content, and suitability for local climate and terrain.
Milking Cows Condition and Welfare
In general, milk production in Europe is regulated by animal welfare laws that aim to ensure that cows are treated humanely and with compassion.
These laws vary by country, but they typically cover issues such as housing, feeding, healthcare, and handling of cows.
For example, the European Union has established regulations on animal welfare that apply to all member states. These regulations require that cows have access to clean and dry housing, adequate space to move and lie down, and appropriate ventilation and lighting.
They also mandate that cows receive proper nutrition and veterinary care and are not subjected to cruel or inhumane treatment.
In addition to legal regulations, many dairy farmers in Europe also follow voluntary animal welfare standards that go beyond the legal requirements.
These standards may include providing cows with access to pasture, using sustainable farming practices, and implementing measures to prevent and treat illness and injury.
Of course, there are always exceptions, and some cases of animal mistreatment and cruelty have been reported in the dairy industry in Europe, as well as in other parts of the world.
However, there are also many farmers who are committed to providing their cows with the best possible care and ensuring that their animals are treated with compassion and respect.
Overall, while there are certainly areas for improvement, milk production in Europe is generally considered to be more compassionate towards cows than in some other parts of the world. Source: AWI.
Biggest Dairy Companies in Europe
There are several large dairy companies operating in Europe, producing a wide range of dairy products for both domestic and international markets. Here are some of the biggest dairy companies in Europe, ranked by their annual revenue:
- Nestlé: Nestlé is a Swiss multinational food and beverage company, with a significant presence in the dairy industry. In addition to milk products, Nestlé produces a wide range of other food and beverage products, including chocolate, coffee, and pet food.
- Danone: Danone is a French multinational food products company, known for its dairy products such as yogurts, milk, and cheese. Danone operates in over 120 countries worldwide and has a strong focus on sustainability.
- Lactalis: Lactalis is a French dairy company that produces a range of milk products, including cheese, butter, cream, and milk powder. It is the largest dairy company in the world by revenue.
- Arla Foods: Arla Foods is a Danish-Swedish cooperative that produces a wide range of dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. It operates in over 100 countries and is known for its commitment to sustainable farming practices.
- Friesland Campina: Friesland Campina is a Dutch multinational dairy cooperative that produces milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products. It operates in over 100 countries and is known for its strong focus on sustainability and animal welfare.
- Müller Group: Müller Group is a German dairy company that produces milk, yogurt, and other dairy products. It is one of the largest dairy companies in Europe and operates in several countries, including the UK, France, and the Netherlands.
- Savencia Fromage & Dairy: Savencia Fromage & Dairy is a French dairy company that produces a wide range of cheese and other dairy products, including cream, butter, and milk powder. It operates in over 120 countries and has a strong focus on innovation.
There are many other companies that also play a significant role in the European dairy industry, including smaller cooperatives and family-owned businesses. Source: Toplist.
Resources European Milk Production Map
The shapefiles with European Territories was downloaded from European Commission. This was a statistical unit dataset representing the NUTS2.
The data with cow milk production was downloaded from Eurostat. The data is from 2019.
The country shapefiles where downloaded from ARCGIS.
Made by Luz K. Molina with D3.js.