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Wisconsin Dairy Herd Count Falls Below 9,000
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/07/2017

The total number of dairy farm operations in America's Dairyland has fallen below the 9,000 mark. The state's agriculture department has announced its latest dairy herd numbers, which indicates there were 8,970 herds milking as of September 1. That's a drop of about 477 herds since the same month a year ago.

State Agriculture Statistician Greg Bussler told Wisconsin Ag Connection that the state lost an average of six herds per week in 2016, and that number is closer to eight per week for the first six months of this year.

"It is true that we continue to lose herds, mainly due to economic reasons like low milk prices and higher production costs," Bussler said. "But milk production and cow numbers continue to be consistent, which means our industry as a whole is very strong."

Wisconsin farmers did produce a record 30.1 billion pounds of milk last year; and is on pace to exceed that amount in 2017. They are also milking over 1.28 million head of dairy cattle, which is also a record high.

Currently, Clark County continues to hold the highest number of herds in the state with 836, followed by Marathon County at 539. Forest and Florence Counties each have just one herd left.

Wisconsin has been keeping track of dairy farm numbers since 1950. At that time, the state had 143,000 dairy operations and accounted for about four percent of the nation's total dairy farms.

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