Growth in output per cow drives U.S. milk production gains

Vertical bar chart showing exports as a share of U.S. agricultural production for 2013-23 with food and feed grains having the highest shares among categories

The number of milk cows in the United States generally fell in the 1980s and 1990s but has generally risen since the early 2000s. Milk output has risen 70 percent since 1980 and in 2019 exceeded 218 billion pounds per year. Genetic developments and technological improvements underlie a pronounced upward trend in milk output per cow. Consolidation in the dairy sector also has facilitated efficiency gains in milk production.

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