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Think all cows are alike? Dairy, beef not eye-to-eye
It’s hard to believe dairy cows and beef cows belong to the same species. Whereas Holsteins, Jerseys, Guernseys and the rest of their milking sisters are urban and urbane, beef cows are pure country.

Dairy cows are gregarious creatures of habit who interact with humans on a touchy-feely basis two or three times a day. Beef cows are loners. They might get together for drinks at the water trough, but they quickly go their own way and don’t dilly-dally and exchange gossip like dairy cows do.

Beef cows usually have human contact once or twice a year, and that’s usually in a squeeze chute where cowboys prod and poke and stick them with pointy objects.

Milking mommas are far more cultured than commercial beef cows, often listening to mariachi music or opera on the radio, depending on who’s doing the milking. Holsteins have the parenting skills of NBA basketball players and can never tell you where their kids are.
Beef cows are more like Little League parents and soccer moms and will fight to the death anything or anybody who threatens their kids. It’s a common sight to see two or three generations of beef cow families living together.

Dairy cows freshen up several times a day and have their spigots cleaned for them on a regular basis.

Holsteins get pedicures, haircuts and are misted with perfume every time they go to the milking salon. The only time beef cows take a bath is when it rains.

Sex is not a big thing with dairy divas. They might have a romantic interlude once a year, and that’s with an A.I. technician wearing a plastic glove. It’s a very unsatisfying experience and, as a result, dairy cows are like nuns or old women in rest homes, who find they can live quite nicely, thank you much, without any male companionship.

Beef cows, on the other hand, spend three months every year being chased by a gang of boy-toys. They really enjoy seeing males fight over them.

The natural enemies of Holsteins are mastitis, heavy-handed milking machines and BSE. Natural enemies of beef cows include lions, government-sponsored wolves, Cargill, Quarter Horses, cowboys with ropes and stop-and-go truck drivers.

Holsteins are fussy eaters, refusing to eat anything but the best alfalfa and corn. If they were people they’d shop locally at the farmers’ market and buy nothing but organic or natural. They all look like they could use a big helping of Weight Watchers.
Beef cows are binge eaters and are anorexic and bulimic during droughts. They’ll eat sagebrush and dirt if they have to, have no idea what corn is and any hay they get is usually rain-damaged and soon to be tinkled on by their spoiled kids.

If dairy cows were cars they’d be fully-loaded Cadillac Escalades with leather, four chrome wheels and rear windshield washers.
Beef cows would be old pickups with one window that won’t roll up, a missing bumper and not current in their  registration with the DMV.
If dairy cows were people they’d be WASP-y Republicans, all the same color who have white-collar jobs or are U.S. ambassadors. They can trace their lineage back to the Mayflower and have names like Abigail Hyacinth Kennedy.

Beef cows would be blue-collar Democrats who don’t want to know their ancestry for fear of what they might find. If cowboys ever call beef cows by name, they are not monikers we can print in a family newspaper.

Dairy cows are more into politics and are often seen pondering dairy buyout legislation that might affect their future. Beef cows never vote, couldn’t name their Congressman and say they hate the government, even though some are on Food stamps, Social Security and Medicare.

Dairy cows would be appalled at the thought they might end up in a McDonald’s Big Mac or Burger King Whopper, while beef cows would be quite proud, actually, if they knew they might have their loins stolen and passed off as choice beef in some chain of cheap steakhouses.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers may log on to to order any of Lee Pitts’ books. Those with questions or comments for Lee may write to him in care of this publication.