Dairy cattle (also called dairy cows) are cattle cows bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus. Historically, there was little distinction between dairy cattle and beef cattle, with the same stock often being used for both meat and milk production. Today, the bovine industry is more specialized and most dairy cattle have been bred to produce large volumes of milk. The United States dairy herd produced 84.2 billion kilograms (185.7 billion pounds) of milk in 2007, up from 52.9 billion kilograms (116.6 billion pounds) in 1950, yet there were only about 9 million cows on U.S. dairy farms—about 13 million fewer than there were in 1950. The top breed of dairy cow within Canada's national herd category is Holstein, taking up 93% of the dairy cow population, have an annual production rate of 10,257 kilograms (22,613 pounds) of milk per cow that contains 3.9% butter fat and 3.2% protein.
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