How Milk Gets To Your Table

Have you ever wondered about the journey that a glass of milk goes through to get to your table? This article will explain what happens along the way.

The Farm 

It all starts at a dairy farm.  Dairy farms range in size and production.  Cows are still milked by hand at only the smallest of farms.  Usually these small farms are just somebody’s hobby. Any farm serious about milk production has moved to automated systems of milking.

Automated milking consists of receptacles that attach to the udders of a cow.  They electronically pump out all the milk and automatically release when finished. During the milking, the cow is stationary in a stall.  Recently dairymen have used a carousel type system that moves cattle in and out faster than a traditional set up.  A large carousel can milk over 100 cows at once!! The milk is then pumped into a silo or milk tank where it is kept until pick up.


Tanker trucks are the vehicle used to transport bulk milk.  They will go to the farm and pick up a load to take to the processing plant.  Sometimes they have to go to more than one farm to fill the load. A typical load of milk can weigh 75,000 pounds.

Processing Plant

Once the milk has reached the plant, they test it to assure its quality. After it has passed the test it pumps the product off the transport truck and into another silo.  It then goes through a separating process to skim the cream from the milk.  The raw milk is then pasteurized and homogenized.  Basically the processing plant kills most of the bacteria in the milk to give it a longer shelf life and so it does not make the consumer sick. It is then bottled and put on another truck for delivery to a store.

The Store

Everybody that has been to a store knows that you can buy milk almost everywhere you go. The last piece of this puzzle is purchasing the milk and taking it home to pour yourself a big glass.