News about dairy growth in March 2012 included an update of the proportion of U.S. dairies with 1000+ cows plus announcements from two states that are encouraging dairy producers to dramatically increase production.

Growth news:

U.S.: According to the “Farms, Land in Farms, and Livestock Operations, 2011 Summary,” more than half of the U.S. milk supply was produced in 2011 on farms with 1,000 or more cows. This is the first time the 50% threshold has been exceeded by 1,000+ cow dairies. To be precise 50.3% of the milk supply came from farms with 1,000+ cows and 34.6% came from farms with 2,000+ cows.

Wisconsin: A new “Dairy 30×20 Initiative” was announced in March 2012 that hopes to double the rate of growth in Wisconsin milk production through 2020. Why? Growth in milk production in the state is insufficient to grow the state’s cheese-production capacity and export capability. See one-stop resource center at

New York: Legislation is being introduced to provide New York dairy farmers, who wish to expand their operations to meet the demand being fueled by the Greek yogurt boom, with the financial tools they need. Greek yogurt, already being produced in plants in NY, requires roughly three times the amount of milk as standard yogurt. The New York Farm Bureau predicts that New York’s dairy farmers must be able to expand their output by 15% in order to take advantage of the Greek yogurt opportunity. Story link.

Crossbreeding Facts:

California: The number of crossbreed cows in California in herds sending records to a DRPC (Dairy Records Processing Center) is a solid 5% for 2011 – – 40,011 out of 804,202. These crossbreds included all crossbreds – – 2-way, 3-way, etc. These crossbreds reported 0.26% more fat (3.87% vs. 3.61%), 0.17% more protein (3.28% vs. 3.11%) and 2.7% less cows leaving herd (37.2% vs. 39.9%). Source: Scott Taylor, general manager, California DHIA.

Where does crossbreeding fit in to dairy growth? To expand or to stay viable each dairy must identify opportunities to improve profit. The benefits of a well-designed crossbreeding management system will increase profitability by increasing components and survival while decreasing dry matter intake (use moderate-size breeds), labor, health and reproductive inputs. See the U.S. Crossbreeding Profit Calculator (click here) to check out extra profits you can make by crossbreeding. This tool lets you put in the exact number of cows in your herd, the number after expansion, or the number of crossbreds you plan to milk in the future.


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