Dairy Cattle EatingLast month, USDA estimated 37.5 million dairy heifers above 500 pounds across the U.S. This number is down by 3.8 million head or 1.3%. However, looking at a larger timeframe shows us heifer numbers are down over 6% from 2020 and a whopping 10.7% since 2018.

What’s the reason? The ever-rising cost to raise heifers has held down milk production for the majority of U.S. dairy production since 1979. Even while input costs increase, income from milk sales doesn’t rise near as fast – if at all. This month, milk output posted the only gain this year of a mere 0.2%.

Read more on milk production and U.S. heifer numbers here.