Milk Cost of Production Estimates

Monthly milk cost-of-production (COP) estimates, and annual milk COP estimates by State and size of operation are shown below. Estimates since 2010 are based on the 2010 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data from milk producers. Estimates for 2005 through 2009 are based on the 2005 ARMS data from milk producers.

Note: ERS no longer updates the national monthly milk cost of production estimates. The decision to stop publishing is primarily due to limitations of the data available to produce these estimates, which call into question their reliability. An expert panel review of the ERS Commodity Costs and Returns Program recommended that these estimates be discontinued. Annual milk cost of production estimates by State and size will continue to be published, but eventually will be moved to annual cost and return estimates for other major field crop and livestock commodities, at https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/commodity-costs-and-returns.aspx.  The monthly milk data series will reside at this location, along with a record of the methodology used to develop these data.

The 2016 and 2017 milk costs and returns by State and size are the first estimates developed from the 2016 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) dairy data. The estimates replace those previously reported for 2016 and 2017 that were set by indexing the 2010 ARMS dairy data for annual price changes. In addition, revisions have been made to the purchased and homegrown feed cost estimates in the spreadsheet with data for 2011 through 2015. After reviewing the 2016 survey data, it appears likely that the method used to index the 2010 dairy feed costs did not provide the best reflection of how these costs moved during years between the 2010 and 2016 surveys. To address this issue, purchased feed cost estimates for 2011-15 were re-estimated by applying changes in the prices paid index for feed grains (published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service) to the 2010 survey data. Homegrown feed costs were re-estimated using changes in the prices paid index for hay and forages. Moving forward, these indexes will be used to set the milk feed costs using the 2016 ARMS data.

Also see costs and returns estimates for organic milk.

 


Data Set Last Updated Next Update
Milk Cost-of-Production Estimates-2016 Base
Milk cost of production by State 10/2/2018 5/1/2019
Milk cost of production by size of operation 10/2/2018 5/1/2019
Milk Cost-of-Production Estimates-2010 Base
Monthly
National milk cost of production 2/8/2018
Annual
Milk cost of production by State 10/2/2018
Milk cost of production by size of operation 10/2/2018
Milk Cost-of-Production Estimates-2005 Base
Monthly
National milk cost of production 1/30/2012
Annual
Milk cost of production by State 10/3/2011
Milk cost of production by size of operation 10/3/2011