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Dairy farms miss ag boom, feed costs surge

Dairy farms miss ag boom, feed costs surge

This year's agriculture boom is a bust for U.S. dairy farmers as surging costs for cattle feed compound a glut of milk products. Farmers lost $2.50 to $4 on average for every 100 pounds (45.4 kilograms) of milk last year, and the deficit may be $1 to $3 in the first half of 2011. The National Milk Producers Federation spent $240 million culling more than 231,000 cows in the past two years.

Despite crop rallies in 2010 and bright prospects for agriculture producers in 2011, the U.S. dairy industry once again finds itself in difficult economic straits. Grain demand continues to drive feed costs up with little change on the horizon.

While the 27 percent jump in wheat prices and 48 percent gain in cotton may send farm income to a record, dairies will lose money in 2011 for the second time in three years, said Mike Brown, an economist at Glanbia Foods Inc., which processes milk in Idaho and New Mexico.

For details, please see the following San Francisco Chronicle article:

U.S. dairy farms miss agriculture boom on feed costs

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