Dairy Reports

Reports from CoBank Knowledge Exchange focusing on the dairy industry.

All Reports


The Butterfat Boom Has Just Begun

November 2023

Once cast as nutritional villains due to their high saturated fat content, full-fat dairy products and other animal fats fell out of favor beginning in the 1970s. Nutrition research in the past 15 years suggests full-fat dairy has a much more nuanced role – and potentially protective effect – on health, and consumers have responded.

Breeding Beef with Dairy Brings New Value to Marketplace

Breeding Beef with Dairy Brings New Value to Marketplace

August 2023

Abysmally dry weather conditions across the U.S. have led to extensive culling in the beef cow herd and will tighten beef supplies for years to come.

dairy report

Higher Food Inflation, Slowing Economy Dampen Dairy Demand

May 2023

Average U.S. mailbox milk prices have dropped more than $6.00/cwt since peaking last May. While milk supply here and in Europe has been edging marginally higher since late 2022, we would argue that the price decline is largely due to broader economic factors that are limiting dairy demand both in the U.S. and abroad. 

Federal Milk Marketing Orders

Updating Make Allowances is Central to the Future of Federal Milk Marketing Orders

January 2023

Federal Milk Marketing Orders establish the minimum prices that regulated processors must pay for farm milk. 


Record Butter Prices May Push Consumers to Cheaper Options and Slow Cheese Production

June 2022

Prices for retail butter are outpacing nearly all other goods — up 13% YTD according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — and the worry about its impact on demand is legitimate. 

Whey powder

COVID-19 Spiked Demand for High-Protein Whey, but is Growth Sustainable?

February 2022

The U.S. is one of the world leaders in whey production and exports. Technological advances have created new value streams beyond commodity whey. In the last 20 years, whey has been transformed from a cheese-making waste byproduct often spread on farm fields as a low-value fertilizer to a highly valuable co-product, driven by rising global consumer demand for protein.

Powdered Milk

US Dairy Processors Must Be Versatile to Compete in Southeast Asia

June 2021

Over the past decade, U.S. milk production has increased by an average annual growth rate of 1.5% while domestic demand has increased at a slightly slower pace.

U.S. Dollar

Dollar Divergence: US Dollar Index Does Not Reflect True Dollar Impact on US Ag Exports

February 2021

The U.S. Dollar Index saw rapid deflation in 2020 and has coincided with a rally in commodity prices. 

Dairy Cows

When the Pandemic Breaks Milk Prices: A Study in Returning to Normal

December 2020

The pandemic in 2020 caused unprecedented market volatility in dairy prices, leading to lower milk checks for dairy producers. However, the price spread is expected to realign in the first half of 2021, bringing normalcy to producer price differentials and mailbox milk prices.

Interest in California Dairy Manure Methane Digesters Follows the Money

August 2020

California’s 1.4 million dairy cows are the largest source of methane in the state, and the biggest concentration of dairy-related methane in the country. 

How the California Dairy Industry is Faring Under its New FMMO

July 2019

On Nov. 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture took over the role of managing California’s milk pricing system from the California Department of Food and Agriculture when the Golden State became Order 51 in the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. 

Consumers Calling the Shots: Desire for Transparency is Reshaping Dairy Supply Chains

January 2019

A dwindling share of the U.S. workforce is engaged in agriculture and the population as a whole is becoming further removed from the farm. As the population moves toward urban centers and consumers become more affluent, a disconnect widens between those producing food and those consuming it. 

A New Era of Dairy Price Cycles: Structural Change Ahead in the Dairy Industry

October 2018

Consolidation on dairy farms in the U.S. has driven the industry into what may be a new era of longer, more drawn out price cycles. 

Competition is Reshaping the Milk Business

June 2018

Consumption of traditional cow’s milk as a beverage has been declining for decades due to lifestyle changes and cultural shifts that have led to fewer occasions at which Americans drink milk. Meanwhile, plant-based alternatives made from soy, almond, pea and a myriad of other non-mammalian sources have surged in recent years.

Automatic Milking Systems: Keeping Smaller Dairies in the Game

March 2018

Automation and robotics have made their way into milking parlors across Europe, Canada, and most recently the U.S. These technologies are helping sustain small and medium sized farms and relieve some labor challenges and costs; but for now, they are not a clear financial home-run for most.

Mutual Benefit: JVs with Foreign Dairy Companies on the Rise

February 2018

As the dairy industry evolves and modernizes, the processing sector has become increasingly capital intensive. At the same time, high-quality, reliable milk supply, manufacturing expertise, and strong branding and marketing are more important than ever to compete in the global marketplace.


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