Over the next decade, dairy cows could produce an additional 4,820 pounds of milk each year. On a per gallon basis, that translates to 560 gallons of milk. If realized, this would be a 21 percent gain in productivity per cow over the next decade.

That was one of the latest projections from USDA economist in its publication USDA Agricultural Projections to 2026.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the forecast.

Presently, the average U.S. dairy cow produces 22,765 pounds of milk or 2,650 pounds each year. By 2026, that number could climb to 27,585 pounds or 3,210 gallons.

As this improvement in cow productivity takes place, national milk production would climb from 2016’s 212.5 billion pounds to 259.7 billion pounds in 2026. While most of this extra milk would come from more efficient dairy cows, the national herd could grow by 85,000 head to 9.415 million cows.

More milk must translate into more sales.

By 2026, dairy exports are projected to reach 21 percent on a skim solids milk equivalent basis. During this time, the All-Milk price could climb steadily with a range of $18.30 to $19.65 from 2020 to 2026. That would be contrasted with $16.75 to $17.90 from 2017 to 2020.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2017
February 27, 2017

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