If 2015 was a nightmare for Western dairy farmers’ checkbooks, certainly the beginning of 2016 was even worse, according to numbers provided by Frazer, LLP.

In fact, in the first six months of this year, none of the eight Western dairy areas surveyed by the Western U.S. accounting firm recorded a profit. In those areas, all but one sustained losses over $100 per cow and $1 per hundredweight. Those dairy areas included Southern California; the San Joaqin Valley, Calif.; Kern County, Calif.; Arizona; Idaho; New Mexico; and the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington).

Ouch.

The single dairy area of the eight that didn’t lose more than $100 per cow was the Texas Panhandle, which still lost $93 per head and 94 cents per hundredweight.

In 2015, all but two of these same dairy areas, Idaho and the Texas Panhandle, recorded losses.

We have yet to see how those dairy areas faired the latter part of the year, but it is doubtful that the end of 2016 will be strong enough to reverse the slow start.

California financial data for first six months of 2016:

Kern County, Calif.: Dairy farms lost $171 per cow or $1.53 per hundredweight (cwt.)

Southern California: Lost $141 per cow or $1.26 per cwt.

San Joaqin Valley, Calif.: Lost $150 per cow or $1.36 per cwt.

Additional Western states:

New Mexico: Dairy farms lost $282 per cow or $3.31 per cwt.

Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon): Lost $239 per cow or $2.18 per cwt.

Idaho: Lost $200 per cow or $1.55 per cwt.

Arizona: Lost $159 per cow or $1.36 per cwt.

Texas Panhandle: Lost $93 per cow or 94 cents per cwt.

To read the entire Frazer study, Dairy Farm Operating Trends, click on the link.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
December 12, 2016

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