Dairy heifer calving influencing dairy decisions

A dairy market analyst says crossbreeding dairy cattle with beef genetics has significantly reduced heifer inventories and the ability for farmers to grow.

The Daily Dairy Report’s Sarina Sharp tells Brownfield that practice has helped diversify dairy farmer revenue streams and increased the value of dairy cows. 

In USDA’s latest cattle inventory report, she says, “They give one number that I really like to watch which is the number of dairy heifers that are expected to calve and enter the milk cow herd within the year.”

“They’ve been tracking that number since 2001, and we came into this year with the lowest by far have for inventories in that category,” she says.

Sharp says historically low beef cattle supplies have also created opportunities for dairy farmers.

“We’ve always sold our bull calves to the beef industry and the difference now is that they’re paying a lot more for them,”

Despite the smaller herd size, Sharp says large volumes of cheese stocks have overshadowed future prices and kept milk checks lower this winter.

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