While per capita consumption of fluid milk is expected to continue its decline, other long-term trends are positive for the dairy industry.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its agricultural projections through 2021 in conjunction with the agency’s Feb. 23-24 Agricultural Outlook Conference and reported commercial use of dairy products and dairy exports will continue rising in the next decade.
The long-term upward trend in output per cow continues, while milk cow numbers will decrease after 2011, according to the USDA. The USDA projects:
• After rising during 2005-08 and again in 2011, milk cow numbers are projected to follow year-to-year declines in 2012 through 2021. Total number of cows is projected at 8.94 million in 2021, down from 9.1 million in 2011.
• Milk output per cow is projected to increase through 2021.
• Commercial use of dairy products increases faster than population growth during the next decade, with cheese demand getting a boost from increased away-from-home eating. Per capita consumption of fluid milk will continue to slip, however.
• U.S. dairy exports will grow consistently in the next decade, with increased global production lagging demand. Exports will rise from 9.2 billion pounds in 2011 to 16.2 billion pounds in 2021.