Dairy Report: Dairy Farm Exits Slow, Beef on Dairy Opportunities

Dairy Report 091520
Farm at sunset ( Taylor Leach )

Farm Exits Slow

Despite the rollercoaster when it comes to prices because of the pandemic, fewer dairy farms appear to be closing up shop, at least in a couple of states.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection reports 266 dairy farms have exited the business this year as of September 1st. That's a decline of 3.8% percent. Last year at this time, more than 550 had closed.

In Minnesota, 46 farms have closed so far this year. That's compared to last year when the state lost 325 farms.

Beef on Dairy – A Valuable Opportunity

With a focus on the bottom line, a growing trend in the dairy industry is adding beef genetics to the calf crop. That was one of the topics of discussion during our virtual Farm Journal Field Days. Two extension specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Penn State sharing their thoughts with Dairy Editorial Director Anna-Lisa Laca, on choosing beef semen to raise high-quality crossbred calves. 

“We're trying to increase revenue for dairy producers,” says Cheryl Ann Fairbairn, a beef extension specialist from Penn State University. “Crossbred calves will normally bring more than dairy bull calves, which in my mind I think is so unfortunate. JBS is the only one buying those finished Holsteins because I think they make a beautiful package. But when you only have one buyer, it's really tough. Some of these black calves can bring $200 to $250. I've also heard them bring $100 to $150. But that's a heck of a lot more than $10, which I've heard some of the Holsteins are bringing.” ​

She says there are also opportunities to raise calves to higher weights and capture more of the premium. But there are plenty of things to consider when making the switch. 

To learn more head over to FarmJournalFieldDays.com and click on the livestock pavilion.