As the year comes to a close, it is often a time of reflection. It is a time to think about the good and the not-so-good events that occurred over the past 12 months.

Our Hoard’s Dairyman editorial team spent the year covering dairy meetings, research, and current events that shaped our industry in 2023. Milk prices, dairy exports, product demand, costs of production, weather events, technology, and more affected dairy farm success. The road was not always smooth, but we hope progress was made this year that can lead us into a bright 2024.

We are thankful for the opportunity to share stories and information with our readers through the print magazine and our electronic newsletter. Below are some of our most read Hoard’s Dairyman Intel articles from 2023:

When USDA releases its annual milk production data each spring, it is a chance to see how the U.S. dairy industry has changed in the past year. The 2022 data, released in early 2023, showed the nation’s five most productive dairy states — California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and New York — collectively grew milk output by 1.1%, while the remaining 45 states as a whole reduced production by 1.1%.

Production data also showed which states were able to meet the fluid milk demand of their residents. The states with more cows and/or less people had plenty of fluid milk to go around, while more population-dense areas with dwindling dairy farm numbers were in a deficit. In all, 26 states fell short of meeting fluid milk demand, with a majority of those states being located in the east and southeast.

There is no doubt that dairy farming has evolved over the years. One of our contributing authors, Steve Martin, shared his thoughtful observations of how dairy farms and cows have changed in the 30 years he has worked as a dairy nutritionist.

It felt like déjà vu when another county in Wisconsin placed restrictions on milk trucks traveling to farms on rural roads. This time, Chippewa County in the northwestern part of the state established rules and a permitting process that directly impacted milk haulers and dairy farms. (Read more in the article, “Milk haulers object to Chippewa decision.”) While the permits remain, the country decided to remove the permit fee.

The cost of hauling milk was also a topic of conversation in 2023. A summary of data analyzed by ag economist Corey Freije estimated milk hauling costs and how they changed from 2021 to 2022. These expenses varied by state and also by herd size.

Rumblings of milk being dumped on farms and by processing plants surfaced from time to time in 2023. One situation in particular caught media attention in the Badger State, and that was of milk being dumped into Milwaukee’s sewage system. Thankfully, these dumped milk situations were short-term problems, but they bring light to various factors preventing the processing of milk, including a lack of employees.

World Dairy Expo is considered a global gathering place of the dairy industry. Our editorial team shares stories and results from the week so that dairy enthusiasts around the globe can stay informed even if they can’t attend. The 2023 event concluded with the Supreme Champion ceremony, and the winner was a cow familiar to many. That’s because Erbacres Snapple Shakira-ET was named Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo for the second time in three years, joining a short list of cows that have earned multiple Supreme Champion banners.

Somewhat related, an article focused on women dairy cattle judges, titled “There needs to be a shift in the showring,” also received a lot of attention online. This piece was a call to action, encouraging dairy show coordinators and breeders to nominate and vote for qualified females to serve as officials of shows at the local, state, and national level.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023
December 28, 2023
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