Sde Eliyahu                             Dairy Herd 

Cows at work

The refet on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu has been milking cows for almost forty-five years.



We milk approximately three hundred Israeli bred Holsteins, three times daily, and produce slightly more than three million liters of milk annually which is sold to Tnuva, the national milk cooperative. This gives an average of about 10 thousand liters of milk per cow (considered very good by Israeli standards). This in spite of the severe heat of the summer months in the Jordan valley which has a detrimental effect on milk production, lowering it by as much as thirty percent.

Cows Socializing

Artificial insemination accounts for ninety eight percent of the births, allowing us to utilize proven sires that will improve the output and overall quality of the herd. Careful control of the insemination process ensures births during the mild fall and winter months. We have approximately three hundred and fifty births between September and February. One hundred heifers are raised to replenish the herd and sixty bulls are raised to be sold for beef.


The milking parlor is a thirty two station herringbone parlor. Herd control is achieved through the use of a state-of-the-art computerized system which includes computer terminals at each milking station in the parlor and ankle tag pedometers for every milking cow. The system allows us to monitor each cow's health, milk production, and heat cycle.

 Cow and friends

The dairy staff includes five kibbutz members and kibbutz teenagers who milk evenings. Volunteers who come to learn Hebrew and experience the lifestyle are an integral part of the staff. 


In addition to the challenge of operating a modern dairy and the challenges imposed by the hot climate, we also face the challenge of operating within a Jewish framework. We arrange work schedules to suit prayer times and holidays. We have a separate milking system used only on Sabbath and holidays which was designed and built on the kibbutz to comply with the strict laws concerning the cessation of work. Feeding on the Sabbath and holidays is done by hand instead of by tractor.

For more information about the dairy herd on Sde Eliyahu, please contact us at:

Phone: 972-4-6096515
Fax: 972-4-6096909

Copyright Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu 2002

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