Important information from the Illinois Pork Producers Association Re: Porcine Lactation

Dear Guy:

Porcine do lactate and their milk I will assume would taste great, because it is made of 8.5% fat in relation to the fat that makes up 3.5% of the components in cows milk. The other components such as lactose and water are found at nearly the same percentages in pig's milk. However, pigs will on average produce 13 lbs of milk in a day as compared to cows that produce 65 lbs of milk on average per day. Pigs unlike cows cannot become pregnant while lactating and therefore possess a severe economic problem to producers. whfle pigs consume less feed per day, economics does not allow pigs to be a viable source of dairy products.

The biggest challenge facing the porcine dairy industry is collecting the product. Pigs on average have fourteen teats as opposed to cows that have four teats. Pigs also differ from cows in their milk ejection time, a cows milk ejection is stimulated by the hoimone oxytocin and can last ten minutes, where as a pig's milk ejection time only last fifleen seconds as the suckling pigs stimulate the release of oxytocin. The technology of a 14 cupped mechanized milking machine that can milk a pig in 15 seconds is not available to pork producers.

I hope I have answered your questions and I encourage you to think about developing a pig milking machine as you eat your bacon in the fixture.

Good Luck

Bradley Wolter

Pork Quality Assurance Intern

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32 Responses:

  1. kfringe says:

    Mmm... bacon butter....

  2. arn says:

    Probably a really obvious question, but I assume (kosher) Jews could not drink pigs milk and Hindus (sp?) could not drink cows milk? Would that be a correct assumption?

  3. The BBC comedy series Look Around You (a series of parodies of 1970s-vintage educational programming about science) featured a carton of pig's milk once. (It was in the programme about ghosts, and claimed that that was what ectoplasm tastes like.)

  4. ammutbite says:

    I think it would be extremely narrowmindwed to concentrate on the development of a single species milking machine. The goal should be-designing a UMM (Universal Milking Machine),which could serve the needs of the consumer in a variety of circumstances, and with a range of mammals (including higher primates and Homo Sapiens).

  5. mandy_moon says:

    I've read that whale milk is tha fattiest milk of all, and that whale cheese is endlessly savory. Wherever I picked up this factoid, it did not mention how the whale milk was collected.

  6. gordonzola says:

    awesome! I love that an intern got to write the letter too!

    the pig milk volume is similar to sheep as is the higher fat content (which actually should end up yielding more cheese, percentage-wise, in the end)

    • cdavies says:

      Does that mean you get the greatest yeild from whale cheese?

      • gordonzola says:

        yield of cheese? I would guess yes (though there could be other factors I'm unaware of). Based on size I would guess that the milk volume would be highest also but I have never looked into it. And I don't know how you'd milk one. A dry dock system? Talk about upping the operating expenses of one's farm!

        There's no way that milk wouldn't taste odd to someone unused to it though because much like good pasture leading to good milk, fish eating leads to fishy-tasting milk.

        • gytterberg says:

          Probably you could kill them, haul them onto land and get it out with a giant syringe.

          • gordonzola says:

            yes, but the fact you'd need a new whale everytime, no matter what the milk yield, definitely doesn't help the quantity of scale.

        • lilamp says:

          clearly the whales should be factory-farmed and fed pork...

          • gordonzola says:

            hmmmm, not a bad idea. I can picture a series of pens but there's still the milking problem. Scuba divers with pneumatic tube milking hoses?

            • anarqueso says:

              Whales don't even have nipples! They have slits, and their milk is already a thick texture supposedly close to cottage cheese, I guess so it can't leak out into the ocean.

            • carbonunit says:

              Whales have muscles which enable them to eject the milk into the mouth of their young. I believe the milk slits are near the tail flukes of most whales. The young clamps it's mouth around the tail and the milk gets pumped right down their throats. More here. If you could train the whale with a reward, it might obligingly lift it's tail over an open boat and in a sudden gush flood it with thick creamy fishy milk!

    • jkonrath says:

      Whale milk has about the same consistency as cottage cheese, but no curds - it's about 40-50% fat. You could probably milk a captive whale that just had a calf, or with extreme luck, try to find one that's been beached or stranded in shallow water. As far a volume, a blue whale's calf will drink about 50 gallons a day. No idea how you'd store that, and given that they swim 20 knots/hr at average, you're probably not going to keep up in your 40-hp 12-foot POS boat.

  7. valacosa says:

    I've seen something like this before - in book form. It's called Letters from a Nut, if this sort of thing interests you, check that book out.

    I don't think it's the same guy, though. Geniuses think alike?

    • jkonrath says:

      The big rumor is/was that Jerry Seinfeld wrote the Ted Nancy books. Alternately, some think that Barry Marder, a friend of Seinfeld's, wrote them. Marder was also the executive producer of a pilot based on the book that was never picked up (probably because it sounds like a fairly stupid idea.)

  8. sclatter says:

    Apparently human milk has a ton of an enzyme called lysozyme in it, which is protective against gut pathogens. (Lysozyme breaks down the cell wall of bacteria, usually causing the bugs to burst or "lyse".) Cow and goat milk have very little lysozyme. They've made a transgenic goat that puts about 2/3 the human level of lysozyme into its milk. When they fed the milk to piglets (because pigs are close to humans with regard to their intestinal flora), the piglets were found to have much lower levels of coliform bacteria in their guts. The idea is that it could protect kids in developing countries from all kinds of nasty diarrheal diseases.

    The whole story is in Science.

    • gordonzola says:

      They are also developing a feed to change the fat content for milk. When ruminants eat grass, it starts as unsaturated fat. by the time it is milked, much is saturated as it goes through the cows digestive system. By binding certain feed with whey they can change the fat levels at will with only a few days of lead (feed) time. Lowfat cheese and milk that will tatse good. Theoretically.

      It's also a natural process, not transgenic.

      This can (theoretically) also be used to change the chemical properties so much that basically you can design cows (who give the most yield in milk) to give milk chemically identical to sheep or goats (who milk at a much lower volume.

      • 205guy says:

        I never understood this whole idea of mucking with nature. Not that nature is perfect and we shouldn't make nice things from it, more like aren't we solving the wrong problem? If drinking cows milk is a problem, stop doing it. If you need the nutrition of milk, eat cheese or yogurt. If you're trying to feed the world (previous post) fix your foreign policy.

        Not to mention the unproven part of the scheme whereby if cows make X amount of cow milk eating their natural diet, they will also make X amount of the other milk. All things considered (health of cow eating new diet, cost of new diet, cost of all this research, etc), is it still cost effective? (which seems to have been the original motivation). I've notice that science and scientists recently omit key pieces of the big picture that have a risk of making their results useless, probably so they can get more grants.

        What I really wanted to say is that cows in the Beaufort region of France eat the rich grass that grows naturally in their low mountain pastures, and humans have found a way to turn it into the best cheese in the world. Please don't mess with that.

        • gordonzola says:

          Don't shoot me, I'm just the cheese seller reporting back on dairy science news to tech geeks. I find it fascinating but ultimately unnecessary. And the entire process I wrote about is natural in terms of feed etc. It's a fairly simple process of cooking together, say, wheat germ and whey concentrate to make feed. The tests are preliminary but the whole thing was predicated on cst effectiveness. The feed is cheap. and there certainly isn't enough graze-able land for all the cows out there now to get all their food that way.

          The discussion of making "sheep milk" from a cow was very academic actually. Everyone thought it was kinda fucked up, but people (mostly dairy farmers) were fascinated by the concept. not because they wanted to do it, just cuz it kinda blew their minds.

          And I agree with you about Beaufort. Well, up there with Vacherin Mont D'or and the Parmigiano Reggiano at least. Though it's the alpage (high pasture) that produces the best cheese. The cows that produce Parmigiano Reggiano, interestingly enough eat feed regulated by the parm consortium for most of their sustenance.

          • eiaboca says:

            As a cheese expert, what are your favorite cheeses other than the ones you mentioned?

            • gordonzola says:

              too many to name. here are some good East Coast ones to start. I'll be writing about the cheese conference over the next few days on my journal too. What kind of thing do you like?

              (and <lj user="jwz">, please tell us to "get a barn" if this is too much for your journal. Nice to see you yesterday, btw.)

              • eiaboca says:

                I'll move it on over to your journal if I have any further questions, but I've liked 99% of the cheeses I've tasted, and I try to get a new one every month or so. My visit to Paris lumped a bunch of them into one short time. I'm not good with the names though.

                I think I will read about the conference, though, thanks!