June 7, 2022

Ag Economy

2021 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

This year’s Northeast Dairy Farm Summary summarizes the results of 170 dairy farms of all sizes, from across the region.


Highlights of the 2021 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

  • 170 dairy farms participated in 2021 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary.1
  • Net earnings decreased to an average of $374 per cow in 2021,2 from $663 per cow in 2020. A significant decline in government payments contributed to the decrease in earnings.
  • Total costs increased by 3.4% from 2020 to 2021. Total expenses per cwt. increased by $0.71 per cwt. to $21.50 in 2021.3
  • Net cost of production4 (NCOP) increased to $18.60 per cwt., $0.24 greater than 2020.
  • Some specific cost categories which changed in 2021 are:
    • Feed expense, a farm’s largest cost, increased from $1,718 per cow in 2020 to $1,782 in 2021.
    • Labor, a dairy farm’s second largest expense, increased from $866 per cow to $884 per cow.
    • Fuel expenses increased by 39% per cow as oil prices bounced back from the depressed levels during the height of the pandemic.
  • Productivity decreased slightly. Per cow production in our sample herds was 0.2% below the prior year. Milk sold per worker decreased 3.5% due to fewer cows per worker, as well as lower per-cow production.
  • Cash flow was sufficient, on average, to meet financial commitments (e.g., operating expenses, debt repayment,family living and income taxes), resulting in an average cash margin (excluding government payments) per cwt. of$0.66.5 This was a greater cash margin than 2020’s $0.35/cwt.
  • Percent net worth in our sample declined slightly to 67% as total debt-per-cow increased from $3,981 to $4,672.

1 Six farms were excluded due to data irregularities, resulting in a benchmark of 164 farms. This year’s DFS contains data from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Vermont.
2 On an accrual basis, after family living, not including nonfarm income.
3 Including family living.
4 Total farm expense, plus family living, less non-milk income. For more information, see page 12.
5 See figure 7.

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