Worldwide milk production is projected to jump 19% to 827 million tons by 2020, according to PMMI’s “Dairy Industry Marketing Assessment,” released in September at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013. That jump comes despite a drop in fluid milk consumption in the United States. Feedback from 50 dairy professionals interviewed for the report suggests the rise stems from enhanced operational efficiencies, access to higher quality feed and the increasingly large herds kept by larger dairy producers.
Because of consolidation, the number of licensed U.S. dairy farmers has dropped by 61% since 1992, and just last year, 57% of milk produced came from farms with at least 500 cows. The consolidation has meant steeper competition for smaller farmers, who watch their larger, more technologically-advanced competitors take advantage automation and other efficiency-driving technologies.