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Definition via Dairy Dictionary:


A breed of dairy cattle that originated from the County of Ayr in Scotland. The average mature Ayrshire cow weighs between 1,000 and 1,300 pounds and has red markings that can vary in color from orange to brown.

Milking Parlor

A specialized area on the dairy farm where cows are milked two or three times a day. Equipment delivers the milk directly from the cows to a refrigerated holding tank to preserve freshness and safety. The milk is then quickly transported to the dairy plant. Parlors come in many types, including flat barn, herringbone, parallel, swing, walk-through and rotary.

Organic Milk

Milk and milk products that are labeled “USDA organic.” This is products deriving from milk that comes from farms that meet USDA’s National Organic Program standards. Organic milk is one of many options in the dairy case – and all pasteurized milk is safe, delicious and nutritious, no matter which variety people choose.

Nutrient Management Plan

A planning resource that defines the nutrient needs of crops and the amount, sources, placement, and timing of fertilizer applications to maximize nutrient uptake of crops and improve yields. Nutrient management plans help protect the environment and crop production.

Livestock Veterinarian

Animal doctors who have earned a degree in veterinary medicine. Sometimes called “large animal veterinarians,” many specialize in the treatment of dairy cows and work directly with dairy farmers to ensure healthy herds.

Methane Digester

Technology that converts cow manure into methane gas that is burned as fuel to generate electricity.


A simple, effective method to kill harmful pathogens through heat treatment without affecting the taste or nutritional value of milk. Pasteurization is recognized around the world as an essential tool for protecting public health since it was first introduced in 1864. The process was named after French scientist Louis Pasteur.

Replacement Heifers

Female dairy animals that are raised with the intent of eventually replacing the cows currently in the milking herd.

rBGH or rBST

A synthetic version of bovine somatotropin that some farmers opt to use to increase milk production. rbST is a naturally-occurring protein hormone in cows. A trace amount of this hormone is present in all milk, including organic products, and is digested when humans eat it, just like other proteins. rbST has been in use for more than 20 years, and its safety has been affirmed and reaffirmed by government agencies in the United States and around the world.


Any hooved animal, such as a dairy cow, that digests its food by first eating the raw material and then regurgitating a semi-digested form known as cud. These animals then eat their cud, a process called ruminating. Other ruminants include goats, sheep, camels, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalo, and deer.


The largest of the four compartments in a cows’ stomach. The rumen allows cows to regurgitate forage and re-chew their cud for further digestion.


Any substance created to prevent, destroy or repel insects, plant pathogens, weeds, nematodes, and microbes that destroy property, spread disease or are a nuisance.