The dairy has become an important branch of national industry. It is rapidly spreading over new fields, and is engaging the attention of farmers in the western, northwestern, and middle States, wherever the lands are adapted to grazing and there are springs and streams of living water. The dairy districts, though comparatively limited, embrace a larger area than has been commonly supposed.

It is true, there are extensive plains at the south and southwest where the business of dairying cannot be carried on, but broad belts and isolated patches of land are scattered over our vast domain, well adapted to grazing, and such lands, when taken in the aggregate, cover a wide extent of territory.

There are two causes that have been operating the past few years to stimulate the development of this branch of industry, and have caused it to assume proportions that give it a distinctive feature of nationality. The first is a large and increasing foreign demand for dairy products; the second is the American system of “associated dairies,” now brought to such wonderful perfection that the business can be readily introduced into new sections with all the ease and certainty of success in producing the qualities attained in old dairy districts.

The foreign demand for cheese, it is believed, will be permanent, and exportations from year to year must largely increase, since the finest American grades are acknowledged to be equal to the best manufactured abroad, while the cost of production is so much less as to render competition with European dairies an easy matter on our part. This fact alone gives confidence to those about entering upon the business of dairy farming—that it will be remunerative and enduring.

In addition, as the texture and flavor of cheese have been improved, a large home demand has sprung up, which requires large quantities to meet its wants. It is believed by many that the home demand, for years to come, will more than keep pace with increased production; and home sales for the last two years wont seem to prove that this view is not without foundation.

With a constantly increasing home trade and a reliable market abroad, no branch of farming to-day offers prospects of better or more permanent remuneration than the dairy.

The history of American cheese dairying has never been written, and perhaps a brief glance at its rise and progress will not be out of place.

Cheese making began in Herkimer county, New York, more than fifty years ago. For upwards of twenty years its progress was slow, and the business was deemed hazardous by the majority of farmers, who believed that over-production was to be the result of those making a venture upon this specialty. The fact, however, gradually became apparent that the cheese makers were rapidly bettering their condition, and outstripping in wealth those who were engaged in grain raising and a mixed husbandry.

About the year 1830 dairying became pretty general in the towns of Herkimer county north of the Mohawk, and some years later spread through the southern district of the county, gradually extending into Oneida and adjoining counties. Up to this period, and for several years later, little or no cheese was shipped to Europe. It was not considered fit for market till fall or winter. It was packed in rough casks and peddled in the home market at from five to eight cents per pound. All the operations of the dairy were rude and undeveloped; the herds were milked in the open yard; the curds were worked in tubs and pressed in log presses. Everything was done by guess, and there was no order, no system, and no science in conducting operations.

In 1840 the value of the dairy products of New York—butter, cheese, and milk—was estimated by the United States census returns at $10,496,021, and in all the States at $33,787,008. Some idea of the comparative increase will be found when it is known that the value of the butter products of New York alone, in 1865, was more than $60,000,000.

From 1840 to 1850 cheese began to be shipped abroad, the first shipments being inaugurated under the auspices of Herkimer county dealers.

In 1848-49 the exports of American cheese to Great Britain were 15,386,836 pounds. Much of the cheese manufactured this year was of poor quality, and British shippers claimed to have sustained heavy losses. There was a more moderate demand the following year, and prices fell off a penny a pound, varying, from fair to strictly prime, from 6 to 64 cents for Ohio, and 6 to 63 for New York State. The exports in 1849-50 were 12,000,000 pounds, and continued to vary, without important increase, for several years, From September, 1858, to September, 1859, the exports of cheese to Great Britain and Ireland were only 2,599 tons, and in the following year, for the same corresponding period, they were increased to 7,542 tons.

During the early part of the year 1860, Samuel Perry, of New York city, a native of Herkimer, and one of the earliest operators in the cheese trade, endeavored to control the market, purchasing the great bulk of cheese manufactured in the country. He was possessed of great wealth, and had for years enjoyed the confidence of dairymen, and being liberal and straightforward in his dealings, he was enabled to secure the dairies by contract, making his purchases at from 9 to 10 cents per pound. Then commenced the exportation of American cheese on a scale hitherto unknown in the history of the trade; and to him belongs the credit of opening up a foreign market for this “class of goods.” The exportation of cheese from New York to Europe during 1860 was 23,252,000 pounds, which was increased on the following year to 40,041,000 pounds.

About this time (1860) the associated dairy system began to attract attention. Several factories were in operation in Oneida county, and were turning out a superior article of cheese. The system had been first inaugurated by Jesse Williams, a farmer living near Rome, in that county, and was suggested from mere accidental circumstances. Mr. Williams was an experienced and skillful cheese maker, and at a time when the bulk of American cheese was poor. His dairy, therefore, enjoyed a high reputation, and was eagerly sought for by dealers. In the spring of 1851, one of his sons, having married, entered upon farming on his own account, and the father contracted the cheese made on both farms at seven cents per pound, a figure considerably higher than was being offered for other dairies in that vicinity. When the contract was made known to the son, he expressed great doubt as to whether he should be able to manufacture the character of cheese that would be acceptable under the contract. He had never taken charge of the manufacture of cheese while at home, and never having given the subject that close attention which it necessarily requires, he felt that his success in coming up to the required standard would be 1 mere matter of chance. His father therefore proposed coming daily upon the farm and giving the cheese making a portion of his immediate supervision, But this would be very inconvenient, and while devising means to meet the difficulties and secure the benefits of the contract, which was more than ordinarily good, the idea was suggested that the son should deliver the milk from his herd daily at the father’s milkhouse. From this thought sprung the idea of uniting the milk from several neighboring dairies and manufacturing it at one place. Buildings were speedily erected and fitted. up with apparatus, which, proving a success, thus gave birth to the associated system of dairying now widely extended throughout the northern States.

The system of associated dairies, during the last eight years, has been carried into the New England States and into the Canadas. It is largely adopted in Ohio, and has obtained a foothold in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and other States. It is known abroad as the “American system of dairying,” and its peculiarities are so well adapted to the genius of our people as to give it a distinctive character of nationality.


The number of cheese factories in the State of New York at the commencement of the season 1866, is more than 500. The following table will show the number of factories erected in the State each year since 1850:
Year of erectionNo. of cheese factories erected each year
   Total, April, 1866     500

The 500 factories will probably average 400 cows each, making a total of 200,000 cows, which, at the low cash value of $40 each, give an aggregate of $8,000,000.

The lands employed in associated dairying in New York cannot be less than a million of acres, which, at an average of $40 an acre, would amount to $40,000,000.

We give the following table, collected from official sources, showing the amount of capital invested in factory buildings, the number of hands employed at the factories, average number of cows delivering milk, pounds of milk, and pounds of cheese made during the season of 1864, at 425 factories. The summary is made by counties, and is as follows:
CountiesNo. of factoriesCost of buildings and apparatusMale Persons employedFemale Persons employedAverage No. of cows.Pounds of milk used.Pounds of cheese made
St. Lawrence49,000691,3752,348,322322,615

From the foregoing statistics it would not be practicable to deduce general results to show the relative products and profits of manufacturing in the several counties, since some of the factories were in operation only part of the season. A better estimate can be made from the following statistics, gathered from the New York State census returns, showing the operations of 133 factories selected from the whole number, and working through the season of 1864. The tables were made up and published in the Tribune soon after the returns were completed, and for convenient reference the factories are numbered from 1 to 133, inclusive.

Table showing the capital invested in buildings, persons employed in manufacturing, number of cows, season of beginning and closing operations, pounds of milk and pounds of cheese, at 133 different factories in various parts of the State of New York, for the year 1864.
CountiesNumberCapital invested in buildings and apparatusMale persons employedFemale persons employedAverage number of cowsSeason begins—Season ends—Pounds of milk usedPounds of cheese made
Cattaraugus1$2,50022420May 5, 1864Nov. 3, 18641,192,730124,284
Chatauqua25,50032475May 10, 1864---do---1,436,192141,728
35,00032350May 3, 1864Nov 1, 18641,178,553122,415
43,12032508May 2, 1864Oct 10, 18641,408,832138,852
53,50034520June 28, 1864Oct. 15, 1864842,69382,214
Chenango62,00012375April 11, 1864Nov. 18, 18641,403,356114,429
72,50021350May 2, 1864Nov 12, 18641,154,504121,800
83,0003550April 18, 1864Oct 31, 18641,755,000175,146
94,00025500May 10, 1864Nov. 3 18641,012,692136,271
103,00013450April 14, 1864Nov. 11,171,911113,564
114,00013380April 5, 1864Nov. 151,172,590122,966
12260022415April 27, 1864Oct. 291,227,786127,345
133,68312400May 9, 1864Nov. 11,162,952126,254
142460400May 10,,124,485111,799
155,00033700May 11, 1864Oct. 201,481,740148,174
Cortland165,00032600May 9, 1864Oct 281,982,801207,634
17500034800April 9, 1864Nov 102,076,340209,360
18593833550May 26, 1864Oct. 311,717,600171,700
19450024900April 10, 1864Nov. 12,067,399208,747
2028473400April 19, 1864Oct, 291,261,119128,478
Erie21240024534May 14, 1864Oct. 221,122,844111,539
22100026851May 8, 1864Dec. 102,458,633249,603
Essex233500251,100April 15, 1864Nov. 152,648,657264,865
Herkimer24400023460April 21, 1864Nov. 71,502,723151,960
25500024448May24, 1864Nov. 251,728,169178,152
26300032400May12, 1864Dec. 11,367,266136,809
27250022475Mar.15, 1864Dec. 101,760,000176,000
28400022690Mar.9, 1864Dec. 181,764,119173,815
Jefferson29400032600May15, 1864Oct. 291,418,351142,518
30-----33450April 26, 1864Oct. 311,327,074134,050
3170023300May19, 1864Oct. 8493,86649,386
32200011300May28, 1864Oct. 22598,75658,875
33500022325May27, 1864Nov. 1747,39371,000
34200012540April20, 1864Oct. 151,282,621128,846
36400033625May9, 1864Nov. 11,636,644162,000
37150022325May11, 1864Oct. 31505,60050,560
3821561425May3, 18641,033,485106,268
39150012325May 11, 1864Oct. 28765,38875,004
40253832480May 9, 1864Oct. 311,244,428127,685
41100022450May 1, 1864Nov. 11,306,144124,649
42100013319April 22,,37891,639
434000551,200May 1, 1864Nov. 153,977,720364,006
45360034600May22, 1864Oct. 221,376,964150,437
46219632327May_3, 1864Oct. 23839,82487,536
47300024750April14, 1864Oct. 271,902,295207,121
48250023580May11, 1864Nov. 51,379,871165,165
49150012400May10, 1864Nov. 1994,730102,835
50250023580May11, 1864Nov. 51,379,871165,165
51150012400May10, 1864Nov. 1994,730102,835
52255023425May 2, 1864Oct. 251,507,373155,559
53300024700April25, 1864Nov. 53,079,262296,259
54350033600May20, 1864Nov. 11,397,076145,941
55330023730April18, 1864Nov. 22,024,503210,010
56100013460May_5, 1864Oct. 151,235,000130,000
57250033625May19, 1864Nov. 41,700,653177,115
58120013300May3, 1864Nov. 1899,25489,016
Madison60500033900April 22,,772,188272,460
61200022450April25, 1864Nov. 51,566,872155,400
62300023500April12, 1864Nov. 41,703,670170,284
63500023850April4, 1864Nov. 232,824,179284,379
64300023600April7, 1864Nov. 52,046,083199,839
653,20022400April 12, 1864Nov.7, 18641,356,000196,621
661,60022350April 25, 1864Oct.25, 18641,220,000122,105
673,00023575April 20, 1864Nov.1, 18641,200,000120,000
68100013450May 1, 1864Oct.20, 1864705,99070,600
693,00042575April 22, 1864Oct. 28, 18641,880,000199,400
70250033650May 21, 1864Nov. 152,263,543225,341
71230014400April 18, 1864Nov. 41,175,117115,173
Montgomery72250022325May 23,,62598,101
733,40032500April 16, 1864Nov. 101,473,619147,361
745,00023450June 6, 1864Nov. 71,308,069134,161
753,00022340April 11, 1864Nov. 1990,589103,640
Oneida762,40022380May 2, 1864Oct. 22849,85286,556
771,80022450May 27, 1864Oct. 17826,28286,156
781,80022588May 1, 1864Oct. 311,639,910164,875
794,000371,000April 20, 1864Nov. 13,027,943995,115
80200022350April 25, 1864Oct. 25802,50078,000
81200022300May 2, 1864Oct. 22802,35975,000
82200022400April 11, 1864Nov. 101,000,000100,000
831,20023400April 25, 1864Oct. 24850,00082,534
843,00023425April 18, 1864Nov. 11,399,330135,858
852,60023650April 11, 1864Oct.31, 18641,665,621166,585
862,00023350April 8, 1864Oct.29, 18641,028,799102,392
87200024600April 14, 1864Oct. 1, 18641,670,000167,720
883,50025900April 11, 1864Nov.20, 18642,227,205222,678
891,50012350April 18, 1864Nov.15, 18641,059,579102,350
901,00012300May 1, 1864Nov.1, 1864832,25281,123
915,00013530May 3, 1864Oct.29, 18641,419,251141,645
92400023525May 20, 1864Dec.18, 18641,866,917181,082
93400024500April 1, 1864Dec. 1, 18642,020,409264,161
94250023400April 5, 1864Oct.29, 1864709,90868,431
95200011400April 12, 1864Nov. 20, 1864915,56255,000
961,50012350May 11, 1864Nov.1, 18641,777,500180,000
97340024725April 7,,883,004180,000
98250023550May 1,,484,443184,721
993,00033550April 4, 1864Oct. 311,746,784173,691
1003,00033400April 29,,416,750130,545
1013,0002325April 28, 1864Nov. 1745,69278,976
1023,00032675April 18, 1864Nov. 122,177,920208,260
103240022350April 25, 1864Nov. 51,114,238107,805
1041,80022430April 4, 1864Nov. 301,331,048128,045
1053,00025500April 18, 1864Nov. 101,440,590144,059
1061,50022400April 25, 1864Nov. 11,184,591121,701 291,318,412129,604
1085,00023700April 11, 1864Oct. 311,900,000185,000
109220022420April 20,,453,352136,606
1103,00023575April 1, 1864Nov. 302,051,688204,025
Onondaga1113,20013400May 1, 1864Nov. 11,331,304123,734 11,400,00097,700
113200021500June 13Oct. 15800,00088,888
114250023500April 15, 1864Oct.3, 1864488,28846,476
1151,00012300April 19, 1864Sept.29, 1864382,80435,009
116200022400April 15, 1864Oct,15, 18641,443,032142,500
117250021350May 25, 1864Nov.15, 1864803,71884,662
118350024600May 12, 1864Oct,29, 18641,714,269165,180
1192,70021375April 7Oct.15, 18641,117,873110,365
1201,60012350April 15, 1864Oct.221,137,948119,784
121250013300May 16, 1864Oct. 1515,43051,543
122200013400May 10, 1864Nov. 21,215,185126,625
Otsego123420024500April 1, 1864Sept. 11,226,700136,300
1243,00012500Mar. 9, 1864Dec. 121,749,974172,894
1253,00022400April 25, 1864Dec. 63,446,871137,886
126200022500April 19, 1864Oct. 29, 18641,140,000114,000
1273,, 31, 1864881,53386,533
St. Lawrence1283,00012375May 17, 1864Oct.23, 18641,107,373109,518
Tompkins1291,20037900May 2, 1864Nov.32,871,042302,215
Wyoming1303,00022400June 8, 1864Nov.2820,80384,142
1313,00023600May 31, 1864Oct.291,943,469125,664
1323,00022350May 15, 1864Oct. 25990,000100,000
1332,50012505April 25, 1864Nov.121,139,121120,205

The above statistics present the following aggregates: Cost of buildings and apparatus, $378,187; persons employed, (males,) 258; persons employed, (females,) 362; number of cows used, 67,034; pounds of milk used, 187,822,838; pounds of cheese made, 18,943,425; average number of pounds of milk for one of cheese, 9.915; pounds of milk to a cow, 2,802; pounds of cheese to a cow, 283; value of cheese at 20 cents per pound, $3,788,687; average value of cheese to a cow, $56.52.

The prices at which cheese sold in 1864 ranged from 10 to 30 cents, and averaged about 20 cents.
The quantity of salt used to 100 pounds of cheese was reported from 377 factories. In 101 of these the amount used was 3 pounds; in 87, 2½ pounds; in 51, 2¾ pounds; in 40, 2 7-10 pounds; in 19,2 4-5 pounds; in 9, 2 pounds, and in 6,5 pounds. The least quantity used was .3 of a pound. In Limburg cheeses the quantity was much greater, ranging from 14 to 17 pounds.

It would be proper to remark that since 1864 considerable improvement has been made at many of the factories, in securing a better quality and larger quantity of cheese from a given quantity of milk.

In comparing the quantity made per cow, as deduced from the foregoing statistics, with that made in family dairies, it should be remembered that the factories are not in -operation during the whole milking season, and therefore due allowance should be made on this account.* These statistics are of interest, and will be found of great value, as comparisons can be made of the product of cows in different parts of the State.


In many counties of the State family dairying is still largely in practice, and in order to compare the two systems understandingly, it will be well to make an estimate of the actual cost of manufacturing cheese in families, after the ordinary method—say from a dairy of forty cows—together with the care and marketing of the same. We estimate from the point when the milk is in the vats, putting values, &c., on a gold basis:

Original cost of cheese house, including tables, &c.......... $410.00
Vats and heater........................................50.00
Press, hoops, curd knife, &c..........................40.00
Annual interest on original outlay.......$35 00
Dairy-maid, say half time, for nine months, including board ...... 60 00
Man’s time about the dairy, turning cheese, &c., say average of one hour each day, for nine months—25 days, at $1..... 25 00
Annual cost of fuel and its preparation for vats and curing room .... 15 00
Man’s time boxing and marketing cheese, including team, say two days per month—18 days, at $1.50... 27.00
Annual wear and tear of dairy utensils and keeping buildings, &c., in repair...15.00
$177 00

Forty cows, averaging 500 pounds of cheese per cow, gross amount, 20,000 pounds; cost per pound for manufacturing, 9 mills; thirty cows, 15,000 pounds, say 11 mills; twenty cows, 10,000 pounds, 17 mills.

It will be seen, then, that the cost of barely manufacturing cheese in single dairies will average a little more than one cent per pound; and this sum, for the most part, is the actual cost in cash paid out, for we have not taken into account the general care and supervision necessary in the manufacture and curing of cheese, which cannot be entrusted to domestics, but must daily occupy the time and attention of the proprietor or some member of his family, who has something beyond mere wages to stimulate to action. And here it may be proper to observe that one of the inconveniences which is widely felt among dairymen, results from the difficulty of obtaining careful and reliable hands for the management of the dairy. If it is desirable to make first class cheese, that will command in market the highest price, all the operations of manufacture must be performed by tried and skillful hands, hands that can rarely be obtained for hire, and when obtained commanding comparatively large wages.

Now as cheese making is an art which must be learned like other trades, and as most of its operations are performed by females, the dairy farmer may be said to have, for the most part, nothing but apprentices in his employ; for when his dairymaid has been carefully taught the trade, she marries, and is at once lost to him.

This scarcity of skilled cheese makers is severely felt throughout the whole dairy region, necessitating the farmer and his family, and more especially the female portions, to arduous labor; taxing their strength to a degree that tells heavily on health and constitution. The result is, that persons prematurely aged and with broken health are more frequently found in a dairy region than in other farming communities.

The introduction, within a few years past, of improved dairy apparatus has, it is true, lessened the labor of cheese making; but the business still demands the same skill and careful oversight; the want of one or relaxation of the other resulting not only in immediate loss, but exerting a damaging influence upon the reputation of the dairy.

There is no desire to say one discouraging word of a business which has added so much wealth to the country, and in which those who are engaged generally prosper, and soon become independent in worldly goods, but the truth must be told, nevertheless. Wealth has its advantages, but its price should be kept in view, and if overtasked muscle, incessant care without relaxation, and, finally, disease, is to be the patrimony of wives and daughters, its charms, to say the least, are very much diminished.

A point of some moment to those engaged in cheese making is high skill and perfection in manufacture. It is not deemed necessary to enumerate all the reasons why this does not generally obtain. The fact is patent that choice cheese is made by a comparatively small number, rather than the majority of dairymen.

Even among those noted for producing a strictly prime article, the process of manufacture, as well as other work of the dairy, is at times hurried and neglected, and must be necessarily so from the nature of things. It does not pay to keep an extra force on hand to take the place of those who may be disabled by accident or sickness, or who from other causes are obliged to suspend work.

Occasional periods of farm labor, too, demanding immediate and pressing attention, occur more or less frequently; the result of which is imperfect cheese, which must be marketed as such and at corresponding prices.

One or all of these causes have been in operation in every dairy, and must continue to occur from time to time. What the losses from this source may be through the year depends of course on the many and various circumstances that have controlling influence in each particular case. We have known it to be large enough, in many instances, to cover the whole cost of manufacturing the entire cheese of the dairy for the year.

Dairymen are conversant with these facts, and they are points to be considered, and should have their proper bearing in making up our estimate of the two systems.


The advantages claimed for the factory system are, superior quality, uniformity, higher prices, saving, by buying at wholesale, such materials as salt, bandage, annatto, boxes, &c., and, finally, relieving the farmer and his family from the drudgery of the manufacture and care of cheese.

It is not pretended that a better quality of cheese can be made at the factory than in families, but that it is quite as fine as the best, and therefore above the average of that, manufactured in small parcels. We have enumerated some of the causes that conspire to depreciate the quality of cheese when made in single dairies; these are not present in the factory system.

The agent or superintendent makes it his business to see that all parts of the work are properly performed. He employs skillful workmen, and his interest and reputation are at stake, prompting him at all times to do his best. He knows that neglect or mistakes will not be tolerated, and the desire to satisfy persons interested, in order to secure their patronage, stimulates him to make every exertion to build up and sustain a reputation for “fine goods.” He has every convenience at hand for manufacturing to advantage and making the business a sole employment. He is not liable to be disturbed by other matters which might serve to call his attention away from time to time, to the prejudice of the immediate work at hand.

The same rule must hold good with him as among those engaged in other professions and arts; for he who gives his whole attention and energies in a certain direction is likely to become more skilled, and arrive nearer to perfection in his calling, than he who is striving to do many and diverse things at the same time— more especially in cheese manufacture under this system, as a high degree of skill is expected, and jealous and interested eyes are daily watching and noting every short-coming. Uniformity and fine quality are more likely to obtain under this system, and whatever progress can be made towards improvement will naturally develop itself more rapidly here than among persons scattered over a broad extent of country, and who are so occupied with a variety of work as to have little time to spend in the improvement of any one particular branch.

The factories, so far as we are acquainted, have acquired a high reputation for fine quality and uniformity.

At some of these establishments we have seen a large number of cheeses, making in the aggregate more than a hundred thousand pounds, so uniform in appearance, as they lay on the tables, that the most practiced eye could detect scarcely any difference in their manufacture. Such a quantity of cheese uniform in size and quality will usually command a higher price in market than that of single dairies, from the fact that in the latter an allowance is always made by the purchaser for unequal or imperfect cheese.

We have alluded to some of the causes that operate to increase the price of well made factory cheese over that of private dairies. Another may be added, the saving of time, trouble, and expense in purchasing. The whole quantity made from six hundred or a thousand cows can be bargained for and bought in the same time and at no more expense than a “twenty-cow dairy.” This item amounts to a considerable sum in the aggregate, as experts are employed by the principal commission houses in cities, by shippers and dealers, to select and purchase cheese, under salaries ranging from $500 to $1,000 per year. Others, again, get a certain percentage on what they buy. These sums, of course, come out of the producer, and hence by so much must depreciate the price of cheese.

We come now to consider the most important advantage to farmers in this union arrangement. It is the relief from the drudgery of cheese making, and the constant care and attention necessary in properly curing and fitting the cheese for market. It would be difficult to estimate this in dollars and cents, since health enters into the account more largely than is generally suspected. It is believed, and we speak advisedly, that the old method of cheese making has done more to injure the health of women in cheese dairying districts than any other cause. Much of the work about the dairies ought to be performed by men; but too often the manufacturing and most of the care of cheese are left wholly to females, overtasking their strength by hard and exhaustive labor, thereby laying the foundation of weakness and disease.

As the same process has to be gone through with in manufacturing cheese, whether the quantity of milk be large or small, and as nearly the same time also is occupied, it will be seen that what requires the labor of a great many persons to do, when cheese-making is divided up in families, can be accomplished with but few persons on the factory system—some five or six being sufficient to do all the work about an establishment manufacturing the milk of a thousand or more cows.


   The objections urged against cheese factories. are, difficulty of detecting adulterated milk; the carrying of milk to the factory, and liability of sour milk; difference in quality of milk, arising from the manner in which cows are fed and managed; the loss of whey; and the necessity of manufacturing the early and late made cheese in the family. These are the principal objections urged by dairymen. As the milk is measured at the factory and each credited with the amount daily furnished, it is evident that, when there is a considerable quantity, a dishonest person could add water, and thus increase the number of gallons. Such cases have occurred, and the individuals cheating have been summarily: expelled from the association, We know of no instrument or mechanical device that will detect, with perfect reliability, watered milk, and therefore a watchfulness on the part of the superintendent, and the exclusion from the association of persons of doubtful honesty, are the only means of meeting the difficulty.

Some object to the labor and trouble of carrying milk to the factory, and the necessity of keeping regular hours for its delivery under all circumstances of weather, &c., since no delay at the factory can be made for the milk of a single dairy without hazarding the acidity of a large quantity—at least that contained in one vat—besides deranging in some degree the regular factory work. Others contend that, having the milk, the cheese can be made by the family with but little more trouble and labor than that of carting the milk, while one’s own time and convenience can be studied at pleasure, and the cheese be at all times under immediate control.

Without extra care and cleanliness as to the pails and milk cans there is liability of sour milk from time to time, which, of course, would not be received at the factory, as milk only slightly acid would damage that with which it came in contact. The milk cans for carrying the milk, it may be observed, are somewhat difficult to cleanse and to keep sweet; and the confinement of the milk and its agitation while being carried in hot weather, render it susceptible to change, especially if there be the least taint of acidity about the cans.

Dissatisfaction often occurs at the factory with regard to the condition of milk, the superintendent being certain that the milk is slightly and perhaps perceptibly changed, while the farmer stoutly insists that it is perfectly sweet; and he goes home in no pleasant mood, complaining that his cans were not perfectly cleansed, laying the fault of the sour milk upon some member of his family, or disbelieving that the milk was changed. If the milk is not received at the factory, it is a loss to the stockholders. Hence it will be seen that more or less trouble is brought about on this account. Not unfrequently bad feeling is engendered on the part of the farmer and his family, and he withdraws from the association.

Another objection is urged, and with some apparent reason, that the quality of milk varies with different persons, according to the manner in which the cows are supplied with food and are managed throughout the season. It is contended that clean, sweet, upland pasture, an abundance of food, and plentiful supply of pure water, cattle wintered well and receiving careful treatment in every respect, will produce a better quality of milk, from which more and better cheese can be made, than when the reverse is practiced. And, yet the poor herd that has been wintered improperly, that is pastured on the coarse herbage of low lands, with general bad treatment on the part of the owner, is credited according to the quantity furnished on an equality with the better herd, It is not easy to see how this can be remedied without excluding such from the association.

Then there is the loss of whey, which is regarded by some to be an important item in pork making, or as a feed for cows—for the whey is the property of the person who runs the factory; but even were it given the farmers, there is the trouble and expense of carting it home. An objection is also urged against the system, that in fall and spring, when the cows are “coming in” or being dried off, the quantity of milk is too small to be carried with profit to the factory; that the family-butter is to be made; that it pays better to take off the cream for butter and turn the skimmed milk into cheese; and that, therefore, as the factory does not do away wholly with cheese making in families, cheese apparatus and implements are necessary; and if the spring and fall cheese are to be made at home, the other portion of the dairy may as well be made there also. This objection could be partly met by setting the milk and taking off a part of the cream and delivering the milk every other day, or at longer intervals.

We have now presented both sides of the question, and are prepared to advance another step in the discussion, which brings us to—


Cheese factory associations are organized in neighborhoods of ten or a dozen or more farmers.

When it is proposed to start a factory, if enough are found willing to turn in their dairies, so as to make a fair start, say 300 cows, a committee is appointed to look further into the matter, to visit factories, and get all the information on the subject that can be had. The favorable report of the committee being had, they then organize, choose directors, and adopt some general rules or plan for the guidance of the association. The next step will be the selection of some experienced cheese maker as superintendent, and the plan for the erection of the factory building.

Generally some person proposes to put up the building on his own account, and to manufacture and take care of the cheese at a fixed price per pound, demanding a contract on the part of the farmers to furnish the milk of the requisite number of cows for a certain number of years.

The milk of about 400 cows, it is believed, is the smallest quantity that can be employed by the manufacturer (when cheese making is his sole business) to obtain a fair living compensation for services, while the milk from a thousand cows can be manufactured at but little extra expense, comparatively.


In choosing the place for the erection of the factory buildings two requisites are sought after—good water and convenience of access and distance for the dairies furnishing the milk: The site, above all, should command an abundance of pure spring water. This is regarded by those who have had longest experience at the business as imperative.

Even in family cheese making a considerable, quantity of water is needed in various ways about the dairy, for curding milk, cooking the curd, and keeping the utensils and buildings clean and sweet; but, for the factory, the quantity of water should be abundant and unfailing. It is usual to have a considerable stream of water passing under the manufacturing room, so as to carry off the drippings of whey and refuse slop, so that there be no accumulation of filth or taint of acidity hanging about the premises.

When whey and slop are allowed to collect from day to day about the milk room, the stench at times becomes intolerable and must do great damage to the milk, which absorbs taints of every character with great readiness. Hence means must be taken to have all the refuse matter swept far beyond the premises.

Some factories are being built where dependence for water is placed upon wells of large capacity, but there are as yet great experiments to be tried. At all events it will be seen that much more labor will be required, with greater liability to taints, than when spring water, passing in considerable streams under the building, can be had.


The cost of manufacturing cheese is, to the farmer, one cent per pound, rennet, salt, bandage, annatto, and boxes, as well as carting the cheese to market, being charged to the association and paid by each dairyman in proportion to the quantity of milk furnished during the season. The whey, as has been before observed, belongs to the factory. All other expenses, including the care of the cheese while curing, &c., is paid by the manufacturer.

To run a factory using the milk of 600 cows will give constant employment to at least four persons, half or more of whom may be females. Before the war, when prices had not become inflated, the actual cost of manufacturing the milk from 600 cows was about $700 for the season. This sum does not cover interest on capital invested for buildings and fixtures, but was the amount paid for labor, board, fuel, &c.

From these data it will be easily estimated what amount of money can be realized from the business of manufacturing. Allowing that the 600 cows produce, on an average, 400 pounds of cheese each, there will be in the aggregate 240,000 pounds. The cost of a well-constructed factory will not be far from $3,000.

We have then 240,000 pounds, at one cent....................... $2,400
Cost of running factory... $700              
Interest on buildings, &c......... 210              
Annual wear and tear, or depreciation of property.............200              
— 1,110
       Profits------------------ 1,290

Now, for 300 cows, nearly the same expense would be incurred, and the factory account would stand thus:

120,000 pounds of cheese, at one cent........... $1,200
Expense of running factory...... $700              
Interest on capital invested ...... 210              
Annual depreciation of property .......... 200              
— 1,110
Profits ----------------- 90

We do not pretend to give the exact figures in the above estimate, but it will be seen that a factory manufacturing the milk of a less number than 300 cows will not be a very paying business, unless the manufacturer can have most of the work performed by members of his own family.


When a factory is located in a neighborhood where all or nearly all the dairy- men are on one street, some one of the number may be employed to gather up the milk of the several dairies, and deliver it at the factory. Neighbors living near each other may take turns, each delivering one day out of the week. When men are hired to gather up and deliver the milk for a neighborhood during the season, the price paid for such delivery is one dollar per cow.


In cheese manufacture an important point to be considered is the proper management of the evening milk, and to do this to the best advantage the state of the atmosphere must be observed at the time the milk is placed in the vats. The milk room should be cool, airy, and free from impurities. In hot and sultry weather much care and attention must be given to have the evening’s milk well exposed to the atmosphere, and thoroughly cooled down before it is left at rest for the night. When there are large quantities of milk to be attended to in hot weather it will be better to spread it thinly over a considerable surface, rather than deeply, as in filling the vats the temperature of the evening’s milk should be so reduced that it will stand in the morning at about 62 or 63 degrees, and it should be reduced to at least 62 degrees before leaving it for the night. At the factories, where carrying the milk and mingling it together from several dairies has doubtless a tendency to hasten its, acidity, there is more necessity for care and attention than in families; or, rather, there is more danger of souring.

It may be proper to observe that the requisite degree of acidity in milk to the time of setting it with the rennet for a cheese is imperfectly understood by the generality of cheese makers, and must be learned by well and carefully conducted experiments. It is not possible to make so good a quality of cheese from milk recently drawn from the cow, or from any milk that has been kept too sweet, as from milk that has acquired proximate acidity—that is, after the ordinary method of cheese manufacture. Neither will it be possible to obtain the greatest quantity of curd from the milk so manufactured. Such milk will require a treatment of sour whey, which will be considered under its appropriate head further on.

At the factories, it is believed there is more danger from too much acidity than otherwise, since there are many causes to hasten that condition of the milk which are not present in family dairies. In the factories it is usual to cool the evening’s milk to about 60 degrees, by letting in water between the vats, by the use of ice, and by lifting and stirring the milk. This, under all circumstances, is, or should be, attended to. The lifting or stirring of the milk, and exposing it to the atmosphere, not only serves to cool it down to the desired temperature, but also operates favorably on the condition of the milk for the production of fine cheese, since the stirring and lifting process allows the animal odor and impurities to pass off more readily. If a considerable quantity of milk directly from the cow be placed in the’ vat and cooled down without proper exposure to the atmosphere it retains more or less of this taint, and more especially if the cream soon rises to the surface, forming a barrier to escape and holding it in the milk. We urge, then, that the lifting, stirring, and pouring of the milk, so as to come freely in contact with the atmosphere, is of material benefit.

Some idea may be had of the effect of this animal odor by placing milk recently drawn in a vessel where it is closely confined and excluded from the air. In a few hours it becomes fetid and putrid. In family dairies too little attention is given to this point in the treatment of milk.


   The requisite acidity in milk for producing the best results in cheese manufacture has not been treated. by American writers on the dairy, and is very imperfectly understood by most dairymen.

Experienced cheese makers have observed the fact that milk which has been cooled down to a low temperature and kept very sweet, requires more rennet to form the curd, and when coagulated is longer in cooking, and often will not work down firm, but will be soft and spongy, forming what is termed a “honeycomb cheese.” Many times a superabundance of whey is retained and cannot be pressed out; this soon becomes sour and putrid; the cheese does not cure evenly, but goes on depreciating in quality until it reaches a high state of decomposition, giving off an offensive odor, and not unfrequently requiring an immediate removal from the shelves to the pig-pen. When cheeses swell and puff up the whey oozes out, carrying a portion of the butyraceous matter, changed to oil, and are saved with difficulty, and when saved, cannot be marketed at half the ordinary price of good cheese.

The principal features of this character of cheese ave given, that it may be identified, and because large quantities are annually made, during spring and fall, many dairymen not knowing where the trouble lies or how to obviate the difficulty. Now, this results from manufacturing from milk that is too sweet, and which should have been treated with sour whey. The use of sour whey in cheese manufacture, when the temperature of the evening’s milk has been kept low, we deem of imperative necessity, if uniform cheese of firm quality be desired. It may be observed that milk should never have acquired sensible acidity at the time for setting with rennet, but should nevertheless be well on its way towards that point. By sensible acidity, we mean acidity that can be detected by the taste or smell. Some milk is more acid than other soon after being drawn from the cow, and often, when freshly drawn, will redden litmus paper, yet to the taste is perfectly sweet. The milk from cows fed with whey, or slop, is more acid than that from those which get nothing but grass on sweet upland pastures. But if by chance or accident the milk is sensibly changed when about to be made into cheese it should be set at a low temperature, and all the subsequent operations hastened as far as practicable.


   When the evening’s milk stands in the morning at or below sixty-two degrees, the morning’s milk may be added to it, and at the time of putting in the rennet a quantity of sour whey should be added, and stirred into the mass, in the proportion of two quarts whey for sixty or seventy gallons of milk. If the night’s milk stands below sixty degrees a large quantity of whey may be used, and the quantity of whey always graduated according to the degree of sweetness of the milk. If the evening’s milk stands at or above sixty-five degrees in the morning, no sour whey need be used, as the milk is on its way towards a change, or has acquired a sufficient acidity to render the use of, the whey not only unnecessary, but a damage, from excess of acid.

When milk has not been treated with sour whey at the time of adding the rennet, and there is difficulty in cooking the curd, it will be better to add to the mass, while cooking, a sufficient quantity of sour whey to harden up the curd: but it is always better, when practicable, to use the whey at the time of setting the cheese, as, by that means, the coagulation is rendered more perfect, while more of the butyraceous matter is retained, and the cheese is consequently richer and of finer texture and flavor.

When acid is used in this way to assist the rennet in its work of coagulation, it passes off in the whey, and in pressing and in the cheese room, leaving the cheese sweet, mild, firm, rich, and of the finest texture. It has none of the characteristics of cheese made from milk sensibly sour; as, in that case, it will be hard and retain an acid taste.

In hot weather there will be no occasion to use the whey, unless the milk is cooled down with running water to a low temperature and so held through the night. We may remark here that it is presumed that the milk room, dairy utensils, &c., are kept sweet and clean; for if otherwise, it will be useless to attempt uniformity of manufacture—for no degree of skill in manufacture can counteract all,the damage done when the milk is constantly absorbing sour or putrid emanations, or where taints are received from unclean dairy utensils.

The whey should be distinctly acid, about like that coming from a sweet curd in summer weather and standing twenty-four hours. If the weather be cool the whey must be kept in a warm atmosphere to acquire the requisite acidity.

Milk treated as above with sour whey will produce curd that will be all that can be desired, which will work down evenly and without trouble, the cheese curing with a firm, compact texture, retaining more of the butyraceous matter, and having that mild, rich, pleasant flavor peculiar to first class cheese. Attention to this matter, and a little experience and observation in the use of the whey, will, we are convinced, work a marked improvement in the quality of spring and fall cheese, while at the same time it will add in quantity, and save that which would otherwise go off in the whey and be lost.


In starting a manufactory some little anxiety will be had in regard to the most suitable size of the cheese to be made. This doubtless must be controlled from time to time by the market for which the cheese is manufactured. The southern home trade prefers a medium size flat cheese—say from thirty to forty pounds, and pressed in fifteen, sixteen, or seventeen inch hoops. This style of cheese should be about five inches thick. For shipping to Europe there seems to be a growing demand for cheese of moderate size. The cheddar is now very much in favor for exportation—a cheese fifteen and a half inches in diameter and twelve and a half inches high, and when made smaller, in like proportions. In former years cheeses weighing from one hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty pounds were in favor among the American dairies, but this size is now considered too large for the foreign trade, and a size not beyond sixty or eighty pounds in weight is more saleable. Small cheeses are easily handled, and in case of accident, either at the factory or in carrying to market, the loss is not so great as in the larger cheeses. Some of the factories for several years past have been making a limited number of immense cheeses, weighing seven hundred or more pounds each, and the sales of such have been in advance of the small size; but it is believed that for extensive sales, the market generally would regard them as objectionable. Ready sales of small lots of these large cheeses could doubtless be made at an extra price, because, being rare, they excite more or less curiosity and induce purchases at the shop where they are cut and sold. But such cheeses are of no better quality than the smaller size; they are more liable to be broken; are too large for families that are in the habit of purchasing a cheese from time time, and therefore can never become popular for the general trade.


The question of the cost of producing milk should be determined on every dairy farm. The estimates should be carefully made and compared with the sales, and it will then be seen whether the business is profitable or not. We have entered upon an extraordinary phase in the history of American taxation, and our necessary annual expenditures must for years to come be greatly above those of the past. They must be met manfully, and ways devised for providing for their extra calls on our earnings and profits. They cannot be met by poor herds and a shiftless and improvident mode of farming.

The average annual yield of the cows must be brought up to six hundred or more pounds of cheese per head. We must learn the means of keeping more stock on a less number of acres, and at the same time supplying the herds with a greater abundance of food at a less amount of labor in obtaining it.

It has been remarked by Liebig that cows driven long distances to pasture, unless they get an extra supply of food, yield milk poor in casein or cheesy matter; the materials which would otherwise have formed that, constituent of the mill: being used in repairing the waste of muscles and other parts employed in locomotion. This fact is lost sight of by many farmers. Herds that are compelled to travel long distances for water, or which are occupied a considerable portion of the day in getting a supply of food, yield less milk, and of a poorer quality, than when they can fill themselves quickly and lie down to rest and manufacture their food into milk. In administering food to milch cows the first consideration should be the maintenance of a healthy, robust condition. That secured, the increase and improvement of their milk may be realized by paying due attention to securing quiet among the herds, and supplying the requisite food from which good milk may be produced.


But it is claimed that there is one feature with regard to cheese associations that operates injuriously on the interests of old dairy districts. Cheese dairying is no longer a privileged business, narrowed down to a few places, where high skill in manufacturing has built up an enviable reputation. It is opened up to many localities. What has been acquired by long years of patient toil, by science and experience, is at once opened to whole communities, where the art of manufacture is unknown. They pick off the best cheese makers, they erect factories, and meet in the market on an equality. So long as dairying was conducted on the old system, this could only be done so slowly and gradually as not to influence the trade for years. Doubtless in this respect the factories act unfavorably on those who would prefer to see dairying confined within narrow limits, and the fears, that the business may be overdone are not altogether groundless. But the step has been taken, and it is too late now to. look back. It remains for us to make a market sufficiently large to take all our produce. In what manner this can be done is obvious. The quality of American cheese must be improved, so that it will be sought after in all the markets of Europe. There is no reason why American factory cheese may not become. as noted in its line as the wines of Johannisberg, the porcelain of Sevres, the sword blades of Damascus, or the shawls of Cashmere. We can compete with the dairymen of the old world as to prices, and when we shall be able to outdo them in quality, a market for our “goods” is secured for all coming time.

The business of cheese dairying is now assuming large proportions, and will increase rapidly under the stimulus of rapid sales, high prices, and the facilities offered for manufacture under the factory system. How far this influx of business is to influence prices remains to be seen. Without a market in Europe, the supply, it is evident, will be so great as to glut the home trade and render cheese dairying unprofitable. It is true, nature seems to have hedged the dairy within certain limits.

The immense plains of the west and south, as well as large portions of the middle States, are not adapted to dairying. The lands are deficient in springs and streams of living water; the soil is of such a character that grasses soon ran out, and pastures become brown and dried, or afford scanty herbage long before midsummer.

These lands are better adapted to wheat and corn, or the production of beef or mutton and wool, and hence will not naturally be employed for the dairy. But still there are large tracts of lands suitable for milch cows, and should they be generally devoted to the dairy, we may possibly find the annual supply of cheese so great as to sensibly affect prices. There is no question of more importance, none of more vital interest to the dairyman, than this matter of market—a market that is enduring and remunerative.


   The questions have been frequently asked: Is the factory system destined to stand the test of years? Is it to continue to prosper, or will it not soon break up and dairymen return again to the old order of cheese making? In my opinion it is to live. The system is a progressive step, and all history teaches that when that is taken it is difficult to retrace it.

Doubtless some may remember when the wool and the flax grown on the farm were spun and woven in the family. We shall never return to that again, because we cannot afford it. They can be more cheaply manufactured by associated capital, substituting the untiring arm of the machine for one of living muscle. The flesh and blood of our wives and daughters are of too much consequence to be worn out by this ceaseless toil, when the spindles and looms driven by steam or water power can relieve them of the burden at a fraction of what it costs in home manufacture. Why, then, should a neighborhood of dairymen do the work of cheese making in families, employing many hands, when it can be performed equally well by half a dozen persons in a well constituted factory?

Progress is a law of nature. From the earliest dawn of creation there has been a constant series of improvements in progress. Geology reveals that the lower orders of sensitive beings gave way to those of higher grade, until the last result of physical creation was attained in the creation of man, whose improvement, as a rational creature and an immortal soul, is still destined to be onward and upward.

The inauguration of associated dairies is rapidly producing a revolution in old customs and heretofore fixed ideas. It teaches the important lesson that farmers can adopt successfully the same means that have proved so beneficial to the merchant, the banker, and the commercial man of the world. By a consolidation of interests, the dairymen of to-day can wield a power and influence never before reached. The vast capital in lands and herds is of a substantial and permanent character, while the aggregate product of the farms, annually amounting in value to millions of dollars, compels respect from those who would assume that the proper province of the farmer was merely to till the soil, leaving for others to divide the profits realized in marketing his productions.

It has been suggested that an arrangement could be made by which leading European houses would take choice factory brands direct from the producer, and advance, through an agent in New York, the stipulated price. Whether more could be realized in this way than by the present system, under which the country buyer gets one commission, the house in New York another, and the shipper a third, is a matter that needs investigation.

But the dairyman with his herd of fifty or one hundred cows, standing alone, has a circle of influence whose radius extends but little beyond his farm. He is, in a measure, at the mercy of corporations and speculators, who, by operating together, may fix prices and control the trade. When associated with others in neighborhoods, in towns, in counties, and in the State, he becomes formidable, and meets on equal terms the community of dealers with whom he is operating.


Another feature springing out of the system of associated dairies, and of national importance, is the production of butter at factories in connexion with the manufacture of cheese. Its importance will be more readily seen when it is known that the finest quality of butter can be produced under this system, thus avoiding immense losses resulting from a poor article, as manufactured in private families, together with the saving effected by turning the skimmed milk into cheese. It takes more skill and science to make cheese than butter. Cheese making is a chemical process; butter making is mechanical.

The cheese makers are, as a class, inferior butter makers. Some have attempted to account for the poor butter in cheese producing counties, on the ground that no limestone region can produce a prime article. They assert that soft water is indispensable in butter manufacture.

There are many errors afloat in the world—errors so old and so well established that they are difficult to be overthrown. I do now propose to argue the point, or to waste breath upon fine spun theories. Facts are opposing forces of more power than words, and, with due respect to the opinions of others, it is believed that as nice butter can be made in the hard water districts as in the far-famed butter regions. But the cows must be good, fed upon old, sweet, rich upland pasture, with abundance of pure water, the milk and manufacture perfect. Cows fed on beets and onions will not make good butter, even if it be washed in the softest water.

There are butter makers, even in the hard water districts of Oneida county, New York, who pack in Orange county pails, who manufacture specially for consumers in New York and Philadelphia, and whose butter is pronounced by competent judges equal to the best brought into those markets. “I have seen as good butter made upon the black slate hills of Herkimer county, New York, as any in the soft water regions—butter that would keep at least nine months as sweet as a nut and as nice as could be desired. These are facts. I have no theories to advocate, and no feeling in the matter further than stating the truth.

The cheese makers have no conveniences for making butter; they have no order nor system in managing the milk. Their milk is often set in a tainted atmosphere, in cheese vats, or mixed up with cheese utensils, and the butter therefrom has an unpleasant, and often a cheesy flavor. They do not intrust the butter making to careful manufacturers, but set their raw hands to the work, pack it in any kind of a tub that will carry it to market, and get the best price for it they can. A great deal of this butter soon becomes rancid, and is a miserable grease, unfit for anybody to eat. It is sold at comparatively low prices, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are thus annually thrown away. It is hard to remedy the evil on the old system of private dairies, since the farmers will tell you it wont pay to build a spring room and hire a skillful butter maker for a few tubs of butter, spring and fall; and even should he go to extra expense and care, it is not certain that the butter would sell any higher. The wife and daughters have more labor than they can attend to, without slaving over the butter making, and so a great deal of poor butter goes to market.

The associated dairies have the means of remedying this defect, in the establishment of butter factories in connexion with cheese manufacture. Butter making at factories is of recent origin. It was inaugurated in Orange county, New York, about four years ago, and, in connexion with the manufacture of skim-milk cheese, has proved a success. A number of factories have been put in operation in that county, and the system, it is believed, will be adopted to some extent throughout the whole dairy region.

If the system can be gradually introduced and managed judiciously, it will prove a source of profit to the producer and a great blessing to consumers. There is danger, however, that too many in the cheese producing counties may rush thoughtlessly into the manufacture of skim cheese, and thus, by overproduction of both butter and a poor character of cheese, make the whole thing a failure—that is, render it unprofitable. How far markets may be opened for the disposal of skim cheese remains to be seen; but it is evident that the great bulk of American cheese must be made of whole milk, or at least of milk that has been but lightly skimmed.

Dr. Voeclker’s analysis of the best samples of English and American cheese shows that ours is about 2½ per cent richer in butter than the English samples, the latter containing more moisture, Whether, therefore, we may be able to remove a portion of the cream and yet manufacture a nice, palatable cheese, equal to the best English cheddar, is for future experiments and skill in cheese making to determine.

It is believed that as we progress in the science, great improvements will be made in this direction, and a superior quality of cheese be made from milk not particularly rich in butter; but until the facts are fully established. and the processes of manufacture generally understood, there is danger of butter factories depreciating the standard of American cheese, by throwing upon the market a surplus of the poorer grades. Though in favor of butter factories, and fully in the belief that the public necessities demand them, in limited numbers, and that the system is an advanced step in dairy progress, there is necessity for caution, that we may not overdo the work and “get too much of a good thing” at once.

This danger of an excess of butter and skim cheese factories will be more apparent when the comparative profits of the two systems, at present prices, are taken into account.

In November, 1865, when in Orange county, I was told by Mr. Allison, superintendent of one of the factories, who had kept a record of work, that the average product during the season, up to October, from fourteen quarts of milk, wine measure, was one pound of butter and two of skim cheese. The cheese factories do not produce more than three pounds of cheese from the same quantity of milk. Now the average sale of factory cheese the past season (1865) has been only a little over 15 cents—call it 16 cents—and we have 48 cents as the value of the milk by that system. But, by the other system, the average prices at which butter was sold in the fall would nearly cover that amount, leaving the two pounds of skim cheese as clear gain. These are the facts which serve as a basis for estimating the relative profits of the two systems. We may assume that a given quantity of milk will yield an equal weight of product by either system, but in one a third of the weight is in butter. To be exact, I suppose that by the Orange county system the milk is worked up more perfectly, or with less waste, and hence there is really a larger product by that system; but as some cheese makers claim to be able to work milk without much waste, the excess need not be named here. The cost of manufacturing butter and cheese combined is slightly in advance of manufacturing cheese alone, but the difference is not so great as to be of much account.

It will be seen, then, that the success of butter and cheese factories will depend upon the prices by which butter is to rule in the market above that of cheese, and the facility in disposing of skim cheese. Last fall the Orange county factories sold their butter at 70 cents, and their skim cheese at prices slightly in advance of whole milk cheese from the best factories of Herkimer and Oneida. But such a condition of things may never occur again, and it would not be fair or safe to make these figures a basis for future operations.

The dairy region has been trying to make a finely flavored, high-priced cheese, such as will sell in the markets of Great Britain along with improved English cheddar, at 84 to 112 shillings per hundred—that is, from 20 to 25 cents in gold.

Some of our factories, during the last two years, have come up to the required standard, and American cheese now stands equal to any manufactured in the world. I am in receipt of a letter from the London agent of one of the oldest and largest cheese dealers in Great Britain, saying that he had just sold, at wholesale, December 23, 1865, some of the Oneida fancy factory make at 84 shillings. That is not bad; and when we can prove to our English customers that we are able to supply them with the best cheese, they will take of us from fifty to one hundred millions of pounds annually and pay us well for it. But we must not get back on a poor grade, and lose the reputation we have labored so hard to obtain. These points should enter properly into the consideration of this subject, with those contemplating a change to butter and skim cheese manufacture.

The advantages of butter making on the associated dairy system over that of private families are very great. In the first plan a uniform product of superior character is secured. Every appliance that science, or skill, or close attention to business is able to obtain is brought to bear upon the manufacture, and prime quality necessarily follows as a result. If you could assume that, in a neighborhood of one hundred families, each was possessed of the skill and conveniences of the factories, and that each would give the subject the same close attention, there doubtless would be no difference as to quality of product; but such a state of things rarely exists.

Again, the factories are able to obtain a larger price, because it costs the dealer no more to purchase of the one hundred dairies combined, than it would of an individual dairy, and the uniformity and reliability of the product does not entail the losses that are constantly accruing in different lots on account of inferior quality. The factories, too, relieve the farmer and his family from a great deal of drudgery, and unless the work is to be done by members of the family who cannot be employed profitably at other labor, it is a matter of economy to have the butter or cheese made at the factory; since what would employ a hundred hands scattered over the country, is performed in the same time by three or four when the milk is worked up together at one place.

The only serious complaint against the factory system is in hauling the milk. This has been obviated, in many instances, by establishing a route of milk teams, where the milk is delivered for the season by the payment of a small sum. The associated system, applied to butter making, has all the advantages, and will do as much for the improvement of butter as it has for cheese; and no one at this day will deny that in the latter it has brought about a wonderful improvement, The butter making department can be easily applied to cheese factories. There need be scarcely any alteration in the buildings. A spring room, cheese room, and butter cellar must be added, but these need be but small and cheap structures. The spring room is to be provided with vats or tanks for holding the water. They should be sunk in the earth in order to secure a lower and more even temperature of the water, as well as for convenience in handling milk. The vats should be about 6 feet wide, and from 12 to 24 feet long, arranged for a depth of 18 inches of water. There should be a constant flow of water in and out of the vats, so as to secure a uniform temperature of the: milk after it has been divested of its animal heat. The milk is set in tin pails, 8 inches in diameter by 20 inches long, each holding about 15 quarts of milk. Ag fast as the milk is delivered, the pails are filled to the depth of 17 inches and plunged into the water, care being taken that the water comes up even with or a little above the surface of the milk in the pails. The temperature of the water should be from 48° to 56°[F].

A vat holding about 2,000 quarts of milk should have sufficient flow of water to divest the milk of its animal heat in less than an hour. Good pure milk will keep sweet 36 hours when thus put in the vat, even in the hottest weather.

When milk is kept 36 hours in the water, nearly all the cream will rise. Some claim that it all rises in 24 hours or less. The time may be varied, according to the quality of cheese it is desired to make. That being determined, the pails are taken out, the cream dipped off with a funnel-shaped cup, having a long upright handle. The milk then goes to the cheese vats for making skim cheese, and the cream is either churned sweet or is placed in the pails and returned to the water, where it is kept until it sours, Sour cream makes the most butter, and sweet that of the nicest favor. When the milk is churned sweet, the buttermilk may be put into the vats with the milk for making skim cheese, and hence there will be no loss.

The old notion that cream cannot rise through a depth of milk greater than seven inches, it is believed, is an error. The Orange county farmers say they can get as much cream by setting in pails on the above plan, as they can to set the milk shallower in pans, and the cream is of better quality, because a small surface being exposed to the air, there is not that liability for the top of the cream to get dry, which has a tendency to fleck the butter and injure its quality. Desiring to test this matter, 1 took glass cream jars, on which were graduated scales, and set milk of the same quality at different depths, from two to eighteen inches. The depth of the cream was always in proportion to the quantity of the milk. Mr. Jones, of Utica, the inventor of the floating thermometer and a new hydrometer for testing milk, also tried the experiment, and the same result invariably followed. Hence I conclude the Orange county butter makers are right.

The great secret in butter making, it seems, consists in attending to the following points: 1st, securing rich, clean, healthy milk—milk obtained on rich old pastures, free of weeds; 2d, setting the milk in a moist, untainted atmosphere, and keeping it at an even temperature while the cream is rising; 3d, proper management in churning; 4th, washing out the buttermilk thoroughly, and working so as not to injure the grain; 5th, thorough and even incorporation of the salt, and packing in oaken tubs, tight, clean, and well made. Cleanliness in all the operations is of imperative necessity. Judgment and experience in manipulating the cream and working the butter must of course be had.

When the butter department is to be added to cheese factories already built, about a third of the cost will be in pails, two of which are required for every cow from which milk is delivered. To build a butter and cheese factory combined, of capacity for 400 cows, fitted up with the necessary machinery complete, the cost is estimated at ten dollars per cow. It will hardly pay to build and run a factory for less than three hundred cows, and it is not desirable to have the number of cows above a thousand.

In the working of any new system, practical men always desire statistics of results. I have seen the statement of receipts and expenditures of the Wallkill factory, Orange county, for the year 1865. The quantity of milk received from April 1 to December 1 was 627,174 quarts, of which 27,308 were sold at a little above seven cents per quart, leaving 599,866 quarts to be made up into butter and cheese. The product was as follows: 31,630 pounds of butter, 81,778 pounds of skim cheese, 5,908 pounds of whole milk cheese, 2,261 quarts of cream, sold at 19 6-10 cents per quart, and 1,561 quarts of skim milk, at 13 cents per quart.

The net cash receipts, after deducting transportation and commissions, were as follows:

For pure milk sold....... $1,926.22
skim Milk........... 24 02
butter............ 13,344 21
skim cheese...... 11,659 08
whole milk cheese.... 1,065 44
2,261 quarts cream .... 443 33
hogs fed upon whey... 2,446 24
buttermilk and sundries..... 207 49
Making a total of..... 29,116 03

The expense account was as follows:

For labor....................... $1,476 40
fuel............................. 79 96
cheese boxes..........653 17
20 sacks Salt........89 25
rennet, bandage, &c......483 55
carting cheese ................ 273 10
HOGS.................. 179 90
3,235 33

This gives an aggregate net receipt of $25, 880 70.
From these statements it appears that the butter averaged 42¼ cents per pound, the skim cheese 14¼ cents, and the wholemilk cheese 18 cents per pound, while the average amount received on the whole quantity of milk was 4.1, cents per quart. The expenses of the factory were a little over half a cent per quart.

From a recent report of average sales of cheese from the New York and Ohio factories, it appears that 15½ cents per pound is all that has been obtained by a majority of the best wholemilk cheese factories during the year 1865, and the comparative profits may be thus stated:
Fourteen quarts of milk, making 3 pounds of cheese, (at 15½ cts.,) 46½ cents; deduct cost of manufacturing, boxes, &c., 6 cents—leaving 40½ cents. At the butter and skim cheese factory, 14 quarts of milk, at 4/5 cents per quart, amount to 57⅖ cents; deduct cost of manufacturing, &c., 7 cents, and we have a difference of 10 cents in favor of the butter and skim cheese on every 14 quarts of milk.

It may be asked how do the butter and skim milk factories compare with those dairies where butter alone is manufactured from the milk. I have no statistics from dairies in Orange county showing the quantity of milk for a pound of butter, but was told that by the factory system of taking off part of the cream and working up the skim milk, greater profits were realized.

The Hon. Zadock Pratt, in the account given of his butter dairy in Green county, gives the average quantity of milk required for a pound of butter, during the season of 1860, to be 11.2 quarts, and in 1861, 10.42 quarts. In 1859 it took 14.5 quarts, and in 1858, 16.16 quarts for one pound of butter. The milk in this dairy is set shallow in pans and the cream skimmed off after the milk has soured and begins to thicken. At the Orange county factories it is not desired to take all the cream from the milk, since a portion of it is needed in the skim cheese.

That which is taken off is fresh and sweet, and is in condition to make the finest flavored butter. The management of the milk is without doubt the best that has yet been discovered, and should be generally adopted whenever good butter is sought after.

The churning and working of the butter does not differ materially at the factories from that of other experienced manufacturers. The cream is churned in the barrel and a half dash churn, and the butter worked with a lever upon an inclined slab. The whole system commends itself to the dairy public, especially to the butter districts, and if the cheese makers would adopt it at their factories for making spring, fall, and winter butter, large sums would be annually saved, and public greatly benefited by being able to secure readily a desirable article.


The following tables give the number of pounds of butter and cheese made in different sections of the Union, according to the census returns of 1850 and 1860. The total production of butter in the United States and Territories in 1850 was 313,345,306 pounds, and in 1860, 469,681,372 pounds. Of cheese, the product in 1850 was 105,535,893 pounds, and in 1860, 103,663,927 pounds, showing an increase in the production of butter and a decrease in cheese during that decade. From the tables it will be seen which States are largely interested in this branch of industry:

Amount of butter and cheese made in 1860 and 1850.
New Hampshire6,956,7646,977,0562,282,0923,196,563
Rhode Island10,211,767995,670181,511316,503
New York103,097,28079,766,09448,548,28949,741,413
New Jersey10,714,4479,487,210182,172365,756
District of Columbia18,83514,872----------1,500
North Carolina4,785,4954,746,29051,11995,921
South Carolina3,777,9342,981,8501,5434,970
New Mexico13,25911137,2405,848

We have not the exact figures at hand for giving the statistics of butter and cheese made in the Union during the year 1865, but the production of cheese in the middle and western States alone, it is believed, was more than 200,000,000 of pounds. From facts gathered by the American Dairymen’s Association, it is known that there are now upward of a thousand cheese factories in operation throughout the United States. If the number of cows to each be estimated at 500, we have half a million of cows employed in the associated dairies, and if the average annual yield per cow be put at 300 pounds, we have in the aggregate 150,000,000 pounds. But there are a large number of private or family dairies in operation, especially in the eastern and middle States, the production of which, it is believed, will more than make up the estimated annual product of cheese to 200,000,000 pounds.

If the value of the cheese product of 1865 be put at an average of 15 cents per pound, it shows a total of $30,000,000, while the butter product, if no larger than that of 1860, at the low estimate of 25 cents per pound, would amount to over $114,000,900. In the estimate of the cheese product it will be proper to remark that the quantity is presumed to be the amount sold, and does not include that consumed in the families of producers.


The statistics of the trade show that the dairy products of the country are becoming an important branch of commerce.

The following table gives the quantity of butter and cheese exported from New York for a series of years:
Butter   Cheese
1858     ----------------------------5,098,000

The decrease in the cheese exports of 1865 from those of tho year previous, resulted from an extraordinary home demand, which took large quantities of cheese at a price in advance of what shippers felt warranted to pay for it to export. The shipments abroad have been mostly to Great Britain.

A light exportation for a number of years has been kept up with the West Indies and with South America, the trade with the latter being for the most part in a poorer grade of cheese made from skimmed milk. Recently this character of cheese has found a favorite reception in China, where parcels have been sent in exchange for tea.

It is believed there is a wide range of markets yet unopened for the disposal of American cheese, needing only a little enterprise on the part of dealers for its introduction; and that when once introduced, it will increase steadily until a heavy foreign demand is reached.

Great Britain alone can now take considerably more than our surplus, and since the qualities of adaptation of styles to her needs meets, year by year, greater favor, the time cannot be far distant when America will be regarded, if she be not already, the great cheese producing country of the world.



     This article is not designed to describe the methods of dairy farming which are successfully practiced by the writer. In the Patent Office Report (agricultural) for 1861, the reader will find a very full and minute account of the Prattsville dairy and the method of butter making practiced there, to which, for the better understanding of the statistics appended to this article, his attention is directed. My object here is rather to show the results of dairy farming for seven successive years, as ascertained by a careful and systematic method of keeping an account of all the products of the farm—the expenses incurred, deducing therefrom the net profits of cultivating it. By doing this, I hope to encourage my brother farmers to manage their farms more intelligently, and by ascertaining the net profits of wool growing, dairy farming, stock breeding, or the culture of particular grains or grasses, to learn whether their labors meet with the proper reward.

   In the article referred to above it was remarked that butter making in this country has been most successfully carried on within that belt of territory, varying from twenty-five to fifty miles in width, which begins with Orange county, near the city of New York, and extends from the Hudson river in a northwesterly direction perhaps one hundred or one hundred and fifty miles into the heart of the State of New York. Within this belt lies the town of Prattsville, situated in the northwest corner of Greene county, adjoining Delaware county; and this town and the adjoining town of Ashland may be fairly called the butter making region of Greene county.

   In 1824, when the writer first located here and began to build his tannery, which afterward turned out a million sides of sole leather, all this region was a dense forest of hemlock, which yielded to the tannery one hundred and fifty thousand cords of bark. After the hemlock forests were cleared away and the tannery was removed to another locality where hemlock was nearer at hand, the writer, who, like many old tanners, had a regard for hemlock lands, felt confident that these lands would prove good for butter making, and at once turned his attention to the subject. The success which has attended his enterprise is best shown in the statistics below. It will be seen from these tables that order, regularity, attention, “minding your business,” are essential to butter making, as they are to success in any department of farming. To this may be added a good thick sod, which hemlock lands afford, and an abundant supply of pure, soft, cool water.

   The farm, as heretofore referred to in the report for 1861, contains 365 acres, 40 of which are fine alluvial soil. The residue is hemlock land, the soil of which is loam and gravel, and lies on the eastern slope of the Catskill mountain. The average number of cows kept on the farm was eighty, though at one time the number was one hundred. The average quantity of butter for each of sixty-four cows in 1862, as will be seen by a reference to the table, was 223 pounds. The present season this very high average has been a little exceeded; but as the number of cows has been increased to eighty, the large product which they average is still more remarkable.

   From the accounts, which have always been kept with accuracy, of the management, products, and expenses of this farm, a summary in the most concise form possible is presented-in the following tables: