U.S. Licensed Dairy Herds Update – Feb ’22
According to the USDA, the number of U.S. licensed dairy herds continued to decline throughout 2021, reaching the lowest annual figure on record. Licensed dairy herd figures have declined linearly since the data series began in 2003.
The total number of licensed dairy herds declined by 1,794, or 5.7%, throughout 2021. The 2021 decline in licensed dairy herds was the smallest experienced throughout the past four years on both an absolute and percentage basis.
Wisconsin had the largest number of licensed dairy herds throughout 2021, followed by Pennsylvania and New York. The aforementioned states combined to account for over half of the total U.S. licensed dairy herds throughout the year.
YOY declines in licensed dairy herds were most significant on an absolute basis throughout Wisconsin, followed by Pennsylvania and New York. No state experienced a YOY increase in the number of licensed dairy herds throughout 2021.
Of the states with the ten largest number of licensed dairy herds, YOY declines on a percentage basis were most significant throughout Missouri (-9.7%), followed by Iowa (-8.8%) and Ohio (-7.2%).
The number of milk cows per licensed dairy herd continued to increase throughout 2021, reaching a record high level of 316 cows per herd.
New Mexico had the largest number of milk cows per licensed dairy herd throughout 2021, followed by Arizona, Colorado and Texas.