Dairy income up slightly for 2021 with limited production growth
Dairy farmers saw a slight increase in prices in 2020 while keeping milk production gains in check.
The USDA reports 2021 milk production increased 1.3 percent to 226 billion pounds, while marketings were up 3.5 percent to $41.8 billion. Farmers earned an average of $18.54 per hundredweight during the year, up slightly more than two percent from 2020.
Dairy economist Tanner Ehmke with CoBank tells Brownfield high feed costs continue to pressure margins and any ambitions to grow.
“Inflation is a burden in dairy and that is really hampering the industry from being able to respond to these very high and otherwise attractive milk prices,” he says.
Farmers in Florida, Oregon, Georgia, Virginia, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina saw the highest milk price, all above $20 per hundredweight, while New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan, and Arizona saw the lowest average price.
The national herd size last year increased by 56,000 head to 9.45 million. Average production per cow increased 171 pounds from 2020 to nearly 24,000 pounds.