As the dairy industry closes the book on 2022, there were chapters that featured high milk prices, greater expenses, supply shortages, extreme weather conditions, growing dairy demand, global impacts, and more. We hope the positive moments outweighed the challenging ones on your dairy this year.
Our Hoard’s Dairyman editorial team strives to bring valuable news to our readers; this has been our goal since the magazine was founded in 1885, and that still rings true today. We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver information about herd health, milk production, farm financials, dairy products, current events, and farm life in both the print magazine and our electronic newsletter. In this final Hoard’s Dairyman Intel of the year, we wanted to recap a few of our most-read electronic articles from 2022.
Farmers in northwestern Wisconsin’s Price County found themselves in a difficult position when their elected officials and county staff members placed temporary weight restrictions on its country roads last spring without an exemption for milk trucks. As such, a local processing plant gave notice that they would not be able to pick up milk from its patrons located in Price County. Fortunately, an agreement was reached between the county and the milk hauler that allowed milk to be picked up without interruption.
There was a lot of internet chatter after S-S-I Doc Have Not 8784-ET sold for a chart-topping $1.925 million dollars last June. The 4-year-old Holstein cow not only has the phenotypic attributes to be a show cow, but she also has a deep pedigree and is a proven genetic transmitter. In fact, her nearly $2 million price tag included 40 pregnancies being carried by recipient animals.
Dairy farms are scattered around this great country, but certain milksheds carry a lot of the weight when it comes to milk production. California, the U.S. leader for milk output, is home to seven of the 13 counties that produce 25% of the nation’s milk. Two Arizona counties join that group, along with one county in Texas, Colorado, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Taking a broader look shows that 54 counties currently market half of the country’s milk.
This year’s World Dairy Expo took on a different format, establishing a four-day trade show and new dairy cattle show schedule. That didn’t slow cattle exhibitor participation, though, as they traveled to Madison, Wis., with a record-breaking 2,663 head. The Red and White Show saw continued growth, reaching 372 head exhibited on the colored shavings. The 2022 World Dairy Expo also concluded with a piece of history during the Supreme Champion ceremony when the Grand Champion Holstein cow, Oakfield Solom Footloose-ET, followed in the footsteps of her granddam, Harvue Roy Frosty, the cow that earned Supreme Champion honors in 2009 and 2010. The pair became the first grandam and granddaughter duo to earn this honor.
Inflation has been all over the news this year, reaching levels that haven’t been seen for decades. While inflation has impacted the expense side of a dairy farm’s ledger, it also affected milk prices – in a good way. Tight global milk supplies pushed the 2022 Class IV forecast from $15.30 per hundredweight in August 2021 up to $23.70 per hundredweight by March.
Dairying comes with its benefits and challenges no matter where you are located, but farmers in some European countries are up against growing regulations that put their future in question. In the Netherlands, for example, manure quotas have essentially been placed on Dutch dairy farmers in an attempt to curtail climate change. The result, though, is a very difficult environment to dairy farm in and the possibility that farmers will need to sell out or relocate to another country.
The term “factory farm” is one that makes most of us in the dairy business cringe, but maybe we can change that. During a Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream episode, Colorado dairy farmer Mary Kraft encouraged listeners to reclaim the term, focusing on the positive attributes that happen when commodities are made in a factory, including protocols that ensure product quality and safety standards.