In line with other key milk producing regions, milk production in the US milk is expected to increase this year and into 2015. However, with the number of replacement heifers dropping, production growth will be reliant on milk yield improvements. The reliance on purchased feed on dairy farms within the US industry means that growth in US milk production is more dependent on feed price levels than in countries which are more pasture-based.
According to results of the July cattle survey, the USDA estimates there are around 5% fewer replacement heifers in 2014 compared to 2012 figures (there was no survey in 2013 due to budget cuts). The number of dairy cows was estimatedat 9.3 million head, up 1% from 2012, while dairy replacement heifers (>500 lbs.) were estimated to be down 5% to 3.9 million head. Strong exports of female dairy replacements exports will have affected the numbers available for domestic milking herds.