1. Dairy: Near & Away from Market
  2. Dairy: New-Zealand
  3. Dairy: Europe
  4. Dairy: Africa=non-existent
  5. Dairy: USA
  6. Regional specialization: ice cream/cheese/butter

In the previous article, we discussed the geographical factors affecting the location of wheat and corn cultivation & allied industries. In this article will talk about the dairy industry.

Dairy: Near & Away from market

Near Market area

  • Fresh (Liquid) milk=bulky, perishable=>dairying should be done near market. e.g. those DUDH-wallas in most Indian cities
  • If the cattle to be raised for milk alone, then you don’t need large area.
  • Hence dairy farmers can risk to buy/rent their farms on expensive land near towns. Because demand of milk products is high in urban areas. (same reason for vegetable growing, truck farming)
  • Pig rearing and poultry farming requires little land, products perishable and in high demand =located near market area.

Away from Market area

  • New Zealand, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark: their domestic population is low, so they’ve to export surplus milk/milk product to foreign market.
  • They convert raw material (fresh liquid milk) into more ‘concentrated’ form (Cheese/butter/powdered milk). It gives two benefits:
  1. Product Shelf life is extended. (butter/cheese doesn’t deteriorate quickly like liquid milk)
  2. New product has higher value per unit of weight=>it can withstand the greater transport cost to the faraway markets.
  • When milk is turned into butter, the byproduct is skimmed milk= excellent feed for pigs
  • Therefore the dairy farming regions are also famous for pigs, pork, and bacon.

Dairy: New Zealand

Auckland and Taranaki famous.
Factor Impact
  • cold and humid climate+ low undulating plains= luxuriant, perennial growth of nutritious grass.
  • possible to graze the animals throughout the year =low cost of “fodder”
  • Dairy farming carried on for generations = skilled.
  • Scientific breeding of animals, vaccination, disease control
  • infrastructure for refrigeration, transport of milk products
Government Policy
  • Government exercises strict quality control over export of milk and meat products= New Zealand’s dairy-products commend respect and good prices in international market.
  • Geographically, New Zealand is located far away from the market of milk products.
  • Liquid milk is converted into such as butter, cheese and powdered milk meaning
  1. Longer shelf life, can withstand long sea journey.
  2. Higher value per unit product (compare to liquid milk) can withstand transport cost.

Dairy: Europe

Factors that favored Dairy biz.
  • Alpine areas with natural grassland =good for grazing.
  • Swiz. also uses imported cocoa + local milk=>export quality premium chocolate.
  • has MNC level dairy-choco companies like Nestle.

Denmark, Holland, Netherlands also famous for dairy products. by and large the factors are

  1. ample grassland for grazing
  2. traditional skill
  3. scientific breeding
  4. Again same “concentration” principle: milk turned into cheese, butter, chocolate etc. for sending to other countries.

Dairy: Africa: Why non-existent

Factor impact
  • The best milk producing cattle breed belong to the temperate regions (Holand, Netherlands etc) They don’t have resistance to certain tropical diseases. Even if they’re exported, they’ll not survive long in African climate.
Raw Material
  • In the African grasslands, the grass = thick, rough and tall but lacks in nutrients. Therefore even with cattle-population, high milk yield not possible
  • In some years, African locust swarm eats all the green vegetation= no pasture /grass left for cattle.
  • in Africa, Those who own cattle, follow are nomadic lifestyle. e.g. Massai, lack the education/training for raising cattle scientifically.
  • lack of veterinary services,
  • Lack of transport services + many nations have ethnic conflicts with each other, many areas under rebel control= smooth movement between countries =not possible.
  • While New Zealand can easily export its animal products to European/American market, and a landlocked African country cannot. (Except via air-transport but then product prices cannot compete due to high transport cost)
  • Domestic demand for milk products (Because people don’t have money). so product has to “concentrated” into butter/cheese and export but it can’t compete with New Zealand/Denmark in US/EU market due to the “transport” factor.

Dairy: USA

US corn/dairy/meat industry can be summarized in this map (although not covering all states or caveats):

map-dairy industry and corn belt USA

  1. red box states=grow corn on mass scale, sell it to blue box states
  2. blue box states use corn feed to fatten pigs and cattle
  3. finally they’re slaughtered in Chicago

The dairy farming in North America spreads from Lawrence Valley, upstate New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Covers an area of 2000 miles

Factor impact
Climate Severe winter region. Agro difficult, but cattle can be raised indoor.
  • due of earlier glacial depositions, this land is very stony and has steep slopes= not good for agro.
  • Hence they raise cattle + buy cheap corn feed from other states =most economic use of land for the farmer.
  • Cattle-rearing=lot of labour required but they use automated feeding, cleaning and watering apparatus.
  • Thus labour shortage= fixed with the help of elaborated buildings, expensive machinery, and large capital investment.
  • USA =rich country, living std. higher=demand of milk product = high, hence dairy industry well developed, banking finance available.
Transport Truck based refrigerated collection-distribution network, owned by farmer cooperatives.

Regional specialization: ice cream/cheese/butter

Milk=> ice cream: doesn’t lead to significant weight loss. On the other hand,

final product amt. of fresh liquid milk necessary
1 pound cheese 10 pounds of milk
1 pound butter 20 pounds of milk

Therefore, in US, as we move away from the market (highly urbanized area such as NY/LA): the dairy specialization is found in this order: ice cream>cheese>butter. Because farther place can only compete in market if they ‘concentrate’ their produce to decrease weight and increase value.

place distance from urban market (Los Angeles) specialization
California nearest ice cream
Minnesota farthest butter

In the next article, we’ll talk about the factors affecting the location of meat, pig rearing and poultry industry.