Limited dairy expansion expected this year

A dairy economist says herd expansion plans are likely to dwindle in 2023.

The Daily Dairy Report’s Sarina Sharp says record high prices last year were encouraging for some farmers, but short-lived.  

“We’re starting to see some modest expansion, we saw dairy cow numbers kind of tick up in the summer and then they slowly faded throughout the fall and winter,” she says.  

While the dairy herd is larger than last year, Sharp tells Brownfield there are signs of shrinking.

“We’ve seen some really big dairy cow slaughter numbers in the past few weeks,” she shares.  “That’s partially related to bad weather in the West, but it’s also a reflection of the margin pressure for dairy producers.”

Other barriers to growth she says include a smaller heifer supply, high feed and construction costs, and limited milk processing capacity.

Brownfield interviewed Sharp during the recent Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference.

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