Feed bunk
February 7, 2020

Dairy Farmers Review 2019, Look Toward 2020

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

A recent MILK Intelligence survey confirms 2019 was tough, tough year for dairy farmers. Not only were prices just slightly better than 2018, the weather and subsequent growing season wreaked havoc on farms across the country. Meanwhile, trade tensions stifled exports and the strong economy made finding labor extremely difficult. 

MILK intel 2

While the 79 farmers who responded to the survey expect prices to be better this year,  recovery will take time. 

Labor Price hedging

“Just because prices are better doesn’t mean things are good,” one farmer said. “We have a big hole to climb out of.”

Others mentioned improved milk prices will be offset by other factors in 2020. 

Herd sizeLabor costs

“Due to a bad cropping year, feed and labor costs combined will add 60¢ to 75¢ per hundredweight to our costs compared to 2019,” a Michigan farmer said. Only 30% of the farmers plan to hedge milk in 2020 and 49% of them intend to stay the same size or shrink their herds this year.