Cow numbers, milk production down in Del., Md.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — The number of dairy cows and the amount of milk produced in Maryland and Delaware shrank in the second half of 2018 as national milk production increased, recently released USDA data show.
The number of milk cows in Maryland in the third quarter fell from 48,000 in 2017 to 45,000 in 2018, according to USDA’s quarterly milk production report for the Northeast, which tracks year-over-year production trends. That number fell to 44,000 by fourth quarter 2018.
In Delaware, the number of milk cows fell from 5,000 to 4,900 over the same period of time. By the fourth quarter 2018, there were 4,500 cows.
Production in both states also fell. Third-quarter milk produced by Maryland dairymen fell more than 3 percent from 52 million pounds in 2017 to 51 million in 2018. By the fourth quarter of 2018, that number fell to 44 million pounds.
In Delaware, third-quarter production fell by half a percent to 21.1 million pounds from 2017 to 2018. Delaware dairymen produced about 20.1 million pounds in the fourth quarter.
The Delmarva region’s dairy industry is in the throes of an aggressive downturn due to a decline in milk prices. Many dairies have either closed or liquidated their herds as the industry consolidates and shrinks.
The milk market’s low prices favor larger farms of more than 500 cows, putting the average family farm in Maryland and Delaware at a disadvantage. Many of those farms are hemmed in by residential and commercial development and cannot expand or struggle with the increased cost of production in the region.
While the milk market shrinks regionally, dairy farmers across the country increased production in 2018. In the third quarter, the number of cows nationally fell slightly from 9.4 million in 2017 to 9.38 million in 2018. However, milk production over that period rose almost 1 percent from about 53.5 billion pounds to 54 billion pounds. Fourth-quarter production also rose about a half a percent from about 53.1 billion pounds to 53.4 billion.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925