Milk Production to Increase Outside CA

Taylor Hillman Cattle, Dairy & Livestock

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Milk production projections show an increase overall but most of the gains are forecast outside of California.

Production to Increase Outside CA

Bank of America executive for food, wine and agriculture Cornelius Gallagher showed a map to attendees at the Golden State Dairy conference that showed forecast growth in overall milk production. The map highlighted the states that will see that growth and California was not included. Gallagher says it’s as simple as reducing the production cost. “The big drivers are land values and water cost,” Gallagher says. “A lot of the producers that came from Chino or wherever and bought two or three thousand acres of land in Tulare County, found out that they could plant almonds or walnuts or pistachios and net $4,000-$5,000 an acre and stop growing alfalfa and silage.”

Gallagher says a lot of those growers knew then that expansion meant leaving the state and the added production costs of things like importing feed only reinforced that notion. “A lot of them knew that California was capped out on the number of cows,” Gallagher says. “So if they’re going to grow their base and their total operation, they need to find another place to be. The movement has been to try and find a place with a better margin.”