How much milk does a cow produce in its lifetime?

Beef and dairy. Two of humanity's favorite things that would be sorely lacking without the help of cows. Based on the way a lot of us eat, we might not even survive without them. 

Cows are sacred to Hindus, and to fans of Chick-Fil-A, which uses the spotted bovines to great success with its "Eat Mor Chikin" ad campaign. With their omnipresence in culture and in supermarkets, you'd almost think cows are infinite, but nay. Each cow has a limited supply of milk it can produce in its lifetime, and you're about to learn exactly how many squeezes it takes to deplete an udder.

When it comes to milk quality, you should have a cow

What better place to begin answering this question than MilkProduction.com, which tells us that there's a big difference between the quality of the milk produced and the quantity. Over-milking a cow is not good for the cow, nor for the quality of the milk. Imagine if you had to nurse a 12-foot tall baby five times a day. You'd be "udderly" depleted. Dailymoos.com says the average American cow produces about 70 pounds, or eight gallons of milk daily. This translates to about 128 glasses. Annually, that would be 2,920 gallons. Over the course of five to seven years, you'll get somewhere in the range of 20,000+ gallons. That's quite a lot, and possibly represents a number that pushes the cow further than what is ideal for the quality of its milk. Meanwhile, a record holding cow from Wisconsin averaged 23 gallons a day, or about 8,000 gallons a year, which is pretty ridiculous.

Selective breeding has greatly improved the milk production of cows, and their lifespan. America produces more milk today than it did 50 years ago, despite having less than half the amount of cows. In the end, when drinking milk, it's worth doing a bit of research to ascertain the quality of the milk you're drinking, because in the case of dairy, it's not all created equally.