Economist expects strong milk production to continue
A dairy economist says the U.S. dairy herd and production have grown beyond pre-pandemic levels. Mark Stephenson directs the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Profitability. “Our herd numbers are way up from that level, in fact, as much as several months ago, we were above historic dairy cow numbers.”
Stephenson says more milk per cow and the largest herd ever means the U.S. capacity to produce milk now is very high.
Milk prices have been falling, and Stephenson says producers with ample feed have no incentive to cull cows right now but, “Now when we’re starting to look at purchasing those inputs including feed, especially for folks in the west, those margins are hard to see any profit in them at all right now.”
Stephenson expects to see some production trimmed and herd sizes reduced in the dry western states, but he’s not expecting any less production in the Midwest.