Returns from making milk in the American Southwest have been tough to come by for dairy farmers.

Losses in New Mexico have been steep — $1.94 per hundredweight (cwt.) in 2015; $1.99 per cwt. in 2016; $1.18 per cwt. in 2017; and now a staggering $2.28 last year. On a per head basis, New Mexico farmers lost $521 per head.

Neighboring Arizona did not fare any better, according to farm financial data gathered by Frazer Certified Public Accountants and Consultants. The Grand Canyon State lost a staggering $2.55 per cwt., which equated to $536 per head.

Among the group of dairy farm clients who collectively milk 379,000 cows, only a few turned profits in 2018 including dairy producers in Kern County, Calif., who realized a small profit of 53 cents per cwt., or the equivalent of $112 per cows. The same held true for those in the Pacific Northwest states of Washington and Oregon, as they captured 89 cents per cwt., or $190 per cow.

Here is a snapshot of the financial data:

California:
San Joaquin Valley:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $67 per cow or 30 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $57 per cow or 25 cents per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $257 per cow or $1.18 per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $208 per cow or 97 cents per cwt.

Kern County:
In 2018, dairy farms earned $112 per cow or 53 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $220 per cow or $1.07 per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $230 per cow or $1.05 per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $145 per cow or 65 cents per cwt.

Southern California:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $190 per cow or 83 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $52 per cow or 23 cents per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $40 per cow or 17 cents per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $7 per cow or 4 cents per cwt.

Other Western states:
New Mexico:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $521 per cow or $2.18 per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms lost $239 per cow or $1.18 per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $358 per cow or $1.99 per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $325 per cow or $1.94 per cwt.

Arizona:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $536 per cow or $2.55 per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms lost $96 per cow or 39 cents per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $201 per cow or 89 cents per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $27 per cow or 14 cents per cwt.

Idaho:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $57 per cow or 51 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $197 per cow or 85 cents per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $78 per cow or 37 cents per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms gained $238 per cow or 98 cents per cwt.

Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington):
In 2018, dairy farms earned $190 per cow or 89 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $322 per cow or $1.39 per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $40 per cow or 14 cents per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms lost $30 per cow or 16 cents per cwt.

Texas Panhandle:
In 2018, dairy farms lost $123 per cow or 58 cents per cwt.
In 2017, dairy farms earned $288 per cow or $1.48 per cwt.
In 2016, dairy farms lost $23 per cow or 12 cents per cwt.
In 2015, dairy farms gained $68 per cow or 31 cents per cwt.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
July 15, 2019
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