Two-thirds of the milk produced in Colorado ends up in Leprino Foods Co.’s two plants, in Fort Morgan and Greeley, the Western Dairy Association told the Denver Business Journal. As the world’s largest processor of mozzarella cheese, Leprino can take credit for a large portion of the 30,000 additional cows in the state in the past 10 years.
The Greeley plant, opened in 2011, is a big reason 90 percent of the cows live in that area of the state. It can handle about 4.8 million pounds of milk per day, or about 66,000 Holsteins milking the state Holstein DHIA average of 26,662 pounds per cow per year. But the Greeley plant can expand to 8 million pounds per day, the Journal article said. That would mean another 44,000 cows at the current state average.
Colorado is home to about 135,000 cows on 517 farms (an average of 261 cows), although nearly 400 of those have just 1 to 9 cows, according to the 2012 USDA Census. Removing those small farms and their nearly 750 cows, the average farm size is just over 900 cows per farm.