With low milk prices still prevailing throughout the land, it’s hard to fathom that U.S. dairy cow numbers will climb, not fall, over the next decade. However, that’s the prediction from USDA economists in its publication USDA Agricultural Projections to 2027. Beginning this year, cow numbers could slowly climb by 150,000 head and reach 9.545 million by 2027.
That’s just one of the many predictions for dairy in USDA’s expansive 111-page document for all of agriculture.
Specifically for dairy, cows could produce an additional 3,280 pounds of milk per year to reach a rolling herd average of 26,205 pounds of milk when looking at the nation as a whole. That’s down from a forecast of 4,820 pounds of milk each year last year when evaluating growth in milk per cow. If realized, the 3,280-pound gain would be a 14 percent gain in productivity per cows from 2017 to 2027. Presently the average U.S. dairy cow produces 22,975 pounds of milk.
Meanwhile, the overall milk supply could grow by 15.9 percent, driven by expanding cow numbers and improved productivity per cow.
More milk must translate into more sales.
By 2027, dairy exports could climb to 21.3 percent on a skim solids milk equivalent basis. During this time, the All-Milk price could climb steadily with a range of $16.90 to $18.60 from 2020 to 2027. That would be contrasted to $17.35 to $17.65 price for 2018 to 2019.