It’s no secret that the average herd size of U.S. dairies has steadily increased for several decades. Data from the 2017 USDA Ag Census is proving how dramatic the growth has become and the effect it is having on the industry. Fifty-five percent of milk cows in the U.S. reside on dairies with more than 1,000 cows, according to USDA data. Just 12 years ago these operations accounted for less than 20% of the U.S. dairy herd, says Ben Laine, dairy analyst for ABC member Rabobank. “With limited opportunity to improve milk revenues during extended periods of subdued milk prices, farms have looked for opportunities to better their cost management to improve margins,” Laine says. “Expanding to a larger scale has been one of the ways that farms have attempted to do that.” More >>