Dairy barn with cows eatingQ3 saw the U.S. dairy cow herd continue its increase in numbers as milk prices hit historic highs. However, producers still face high feed and labor costs and tight heifer availability. At the end of August, dairy cow numbers in the U.S. totaled 9.427 million head, up 60,000 year-to-date but still trailing August 2021 numbers by 11,000. However, efficiencies in milk production helped narrow the gap, as August collections were up 1.6% YOY.

Texas and South Dakota lead the nation in dairy herd growth, jumping 30,000 and 22,000 head, respectively. These numbers continue the trend that dairy herds are migrating from coastal regions to central states that have lower land, water, feed and labor costs.

Read more on U.S. dairy herd numbers here.