(Reuters) - U.S. dairy farmers are struggling with mounting losses as milk prices are down more than 30 percent from last year and below operating costs for many farmers.
On the more than 60,000 dairy farms in all 50 states, dairy farmers are adjusting feed rations and culling cows from their herds to cope with the losses. In the past, some had lost more than $200 per cow every month and some are exiting the industry.
U.S. milk prices spiked in 2007 to record highs and reached the second highest ever levels in 2008 on rising exports and tight global supplies. But global economic turmoil from mid-2008 has dragged down demand while supplies have grown.
Following are dairy industry statistics compiled from U.S. Agriculture Department data and from industry sources.
Annual average U.S. all-milk prices (per 100 lbs)
2009: $11.85-$12.15 (projected)
2010: $14.85-$15.85 (projected)
Top U.S. milk producing states in 2008 (in billion lbs)
1. California: 41.185
2. Wisconsin: 24.460
3. New York: 12.420
4. Idaho: 12.315
5. Pennsylvania: 10.575
Note: The top five states accounted for 53 pct of total U.S. production.
U.S. dairy cow herd on January 1 (in million head)
Annual U.S. milk production (in billion lbs)
Top global producers in 2008 (in million tonnes)
United States: 86.026
New Zealand: 15.141
Reporting by Karl Plume and Bob Burgdorfer, Editing by Lisa Shumaker