Tough Times For Dairy Farmers
Corn and soybean farmers have struggled with low prices for a number of years in a row now. However, it has been even more difficult for dairy farmers. Not only have milk prices for most dairy farmers been well below their cost of production, some have lost the market for their milk. Some have been notified by their processor that as of a certain date they will no longer be buying their milk!
When I was a dairy farmer there were a number of processors that would stop by the farm about ounce a year to see if I would switch and sell my milk to them. Today all the processors are pretty much "full" and do not have any excess capacity to process any more milk. The result is the dairy farmers that lost their processor have a tough time finding another one to buy their milk.
Yes, the industry has really changed. Back in the 1990's, if you had a herd of dairy cows that produced 20,000 pounds of milk per cow a year it was really a high producing herd. Today large herds with hundreds of cows have herd averaged of well over 30,000 pounds of milk per cow a year! It makes you wonder how can we get cow to produce so much milk?
Through selection and artificial insemination cows today have the genetic potential to produce a lot of milk. We have learned a lot about nutrition. A cow can eat only so much and nutritionists have figured out how to pack a lot of protein and energy into rations. We have learned a lot about cow comfort, controlling flies, managing hot weather and diseases.
Animal rights activists think dairy farmers mistreat their cows. My question to them is, how can cows that are mistreated produce that much milk? These cows live better, have better nutrition and health care than most people in this world!