Milk Cow Numbers Drop for First Month This Year

Have U.S. milk producers finally stopped adding to the dairy herd?

Published on: Oct 6, 2010

Even after last year's extreme difficulties for dairy producers who had to cut herds or cut out of the dairy business altogether, prices did start to rebound end of last year into this year.

"We have seen the addition of cow since the beginning of the year," said USDA Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam. However the numbers for August showed a reversal of that trend with a reduction of the herd by 8,000 head. That reduction left the herd 10,000 head smaller than a year ago, but milk production is 3% above last year.

"We did add about 50 pounds per cow from 2009," Shagam said. "That gives us about 1,766 pounds per cow."

Shagam says this year's U.S. milk production could top last year by almost 3.5 billion pounds and expect to add another 2.5 billion pounds to that next year.