The California Dairy Statistics Annual for 2015 reported total milk production was down 3.4 percent, the number of dairy cows was down 2.3 percent, milk per cow was down 1.1 percent, and the number of dairies decreased 2.2 percent compared to 2014. The annual average price paid to producers was $15.40 per hundredweight (cwt.), with the lowest average price in 2015 at $14.69/cwt. in March and the highest average price at $16.65/cwt. in November.
Following record milk production in 2014, output decreased each month in 2015, compared to the corresponding month in the previous year. Total milk production for the year finished 3.4 percent below last year.
2015 Cost Comp Year in Review
In 2015, the cost per cwt. to operate a dairy facility increased by 2.1 percent compared to 2014. This increase in the total cost per cwt. is a result of increased costs for labor, replacements, operating, and lower milk sold per cow. Labor costs increased by 9.4 percent, and replacement cost increased by 54.4 percent. Total feed costs, as a percentage of total cost in 2015, represent 58.9 percent of total cost, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to last year.
In the first quarter of 2015, feed cost represented 61.1 percent of total cost; it decreased to 56.7 percent by the fourth quarter. Feed costs decreased by 5.3 percent on a per cwt. basis because lower prices were paid for milk Return on Investment & Management $1.52 Marketing $0.56 Operating $2.93 Labor $1.70 Replacements $2.12 Statewide Cost Comparison Summary Feed $10.46 cow hay and grain commodities. In 2015, alfalfa hay fed averaged $278 per ton, a decrease of 5.5 percent; while grain, minerals, and supplements averaged $273 per ton, a decrease of 11.2 percent. Income over feed cost decreased 51.6 percent to $5.48 per cwt., compared to last year. The mailbox milk price in 2015 averaged $15.94 per cwt., a decline of 28.7 percent from the previous year.