Wisconsin still losing dairy herds, but not cows or production

Wisconsin’s trend of more cows and fewer farms continues. 

The National Ag Statistics Service says the dairy state has 6,140 licensed dairy herds as of December 1st compared to 6,572 a year ago.  Wisconsin has 432 fewer dairy farms over 12 months and 393 fewer since the first of the year. 

The number of cows hasn’t really changed.  The most recently available statistics for October show Wisconsin had 1.271 million dairy cattle compared to 1.278 million in October of 2021.

Clark County remains far and away the county with the most dairy herds at 667, followed by neighboring Marathon County with 387 herds.  There are no more dairy cows in Florence and Oneida counties, and Milwaukee County is down to just one remaining herd.

Milk production increased in Wisconsin during October, totaling 2.67 billion pounds, up 1 percent from last October.

Wisconsin has kept statistics on milk cows since 1933.  Back then, Wisconsin had almost twice as many cows with 2.11 million. Milk production per cow has dramatically changed from 5,140 pounds per cow annually in 1933 to 24,884  pounds per cow last year.

The number of licensed herds has been tracked since August of 2003 when there were 16,264 herds in Wisconsin compared to 6,140 now. 

USDA’s statistics only cover dairy cow herds, and not sheep or goat dairies.

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