Dairy Report: WI Bids Farewell to 491 Dairies, Where are the Cows Now?

Dairy Report 081319
John Mueller Dairy in New York ( Brody Wheeler )

The dairy state is continuing to lose dairy farms. From January to July, Wisconsin lost 491 farms to date. So where are the dairy cows in the country? AgDay’s Clinton Griffith explains in this week’s Dairy Report.

Wisconsin Dairy Farm Losses Continue Unabated

Wisconsin lost another 42 dairy farms in July, and since January 1, has lost 491 farms, reports the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

At this rate, the Dairy State could lose 735 dairy farms this year, which would be a decline of 9%. In 2018, the state lost 691 farms, a rate of decline of 7.9%.

Over the last decade the state has lost more than 5,000 farms, or 40% of its licensed dairy farms. To state the obvious, the current rate of exits is more than double that of the last decade. 

Cow numbers are not declining as rapidly, however. Since January, Wisconsin cow numbers have declined just 2,000 head to 1.268 million. The average cows per farm, as a result has ticked up from 157 cows per herd in January to 166 in August.

Here Are The 25 Counties With The Most Cows

The 2017 USDA Ag Census reported data on scores of ag statistics, including dairy cow inventory. 

Here are the top 25 counties with the most cows:

California dominates the list, with four of the top five and 6 of the top 10. Wisconsin, which has 12 of the top 25 counties in terms of the number of dairies, has 4 of the top 25 states by cow numbers. 

For a list of the top 25 counties with the most dairies, click here .