By Kirk Maltais
The Agriculture Department cut its outlook for U.S. milk production next year, with dairy farmers favoring production of other products such as butter and cheese.
In its monthly world agricultural supply and demand report issued Friday, the USDA reduced its outlook for 2024 milk production to 229 billion pounds, which is down 1 billion pounds from its previous outlook, and the lowest estimate for that year. The USDA also adjusted its outlook for 2023 milk production, reducing it by 200 million pounds from its forecast in November to 226.9 billion pounds.
The USDA cited “reduced” milk production per cow as the reason for the cuts, as well as a smaller dairy herd.
Dairy farmers are favoring having their cows producing more components for products such as butter and cheese, which is detracting from milk production, said Corey Geiger, lead dairy economist with CoBank. “Most consumers are eating their dairy products these days as opposed to drinking beverage milk.”
The returning popularity of butterfat products — this after public sentiment about saturated fats has shifted to being more friendly — has farmers feeding their cows in such a…
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