The nation's dairy cattle herd is getting smaller in numbers, bigger in production and it looks like that trend will continue.  The latest cattle inventory shows milk cows that have calved as of January 1st stood at 9.33 million head.
A decrease of less than 1%.
USDA Livestock Analyst, Shayle Shagam, that decline is liable to grow though because of this number, "For milk cow replacement producers are holding about 4.6 million head of heifers which is about 1.5% bellow a year ago."
He noted this is a continuation of a trend over the last year or longer of a shrinking dairy herd.
"We have been seeing declines over time in the milk cow inventory and it's largely been offset by gains in milk per cow. So as a result, what we're looking at is continued increases in milk production even with a smaller cow herd."
During December, milk per cow averaged 14 pounds more than a year earlier USDA forecasting total US milk output to top last year by 1.7%.

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