Feeding time at a dairy farmReplacement dairy heifers have fallen nearly 15% in the last six years to 4.06 million head. This is the lowest number since January 2004, when the report logged just 4 million head of replacement dairy heifers. The trend closely follows cost patterns for American dairy farmers over the last several years.

The cost of raising a dairy calf from birth to adult has climbed substantially. The University of Wisconsin Extension collected data via survey from 1999 to 2015 and found costs increased by 85%, from $1,360 to $2,51 per head. Unfortunately, the higher costs haven’t resulted in higher profits. Sale prices for dairy replacement have generally oscillated between $1,300 and $1,600 for most of the last ten years.

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