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Ag Economy

2020 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

This year’s Northeast Dairy Farm Summary summarizes the results of 204 dairy farms of all sizes, from across the region.

Highlights of the 2020 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

  • 209 dairy farms participated in 2020 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary.1
  • Net earnings increased to an average of $663 per cow in 2020,2 from $447 per cow in 2019. Government 
    payments, including COVID-19 relief programs, made a significant contribution to earnings. 
  • Total costs increased by 3% from 2019 to 2020. Total expenses per cwt. increased by $0.59 per cwt. to $20.79 
    in 2020.3
  • Net cost of production4 (NCOP) increased to $18.11 per cwt., $0.30 greater than 2019.
  • Some specific cost categories which changed in 2020 are:
    • Feed expense, a farm’s largest cost, increased from $1,625 per cow in 2019 to $1,718 in 2020. 
    • Labor, a dairy farm’s second largest expense, increased overall by 3.0% per cow, and 2.6% per cwt. However, when family labor is taken out, hired labor costs rose by 6.6% per cow.
    • Fuel expenses decreased by -23% per cow as a result of lower oil prices. 
  • Productivity increased slightly. Per cow production in our sample herds was 0.4% greater than the prior year. 
    Milk sold per worker increased 4.1% due to more cows per worker, as well as greater 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 per cwt. of $0.35.5 This was a smaller cash margin than 2019’s $1.43/cwt.
  • Percent net worth in our sample increased to 69%. Total debt-per-cow decreased from $4,061 to $3,981.

1 Five farms were excluded due to data irregularities, resulting in a benchmark of 204 farms. This year’s DFS contains data from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New York.
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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