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Seasonality of Milk Production: Does Size Matter?

01 May 2015

US – Seasonality of milk production tends to be greater on smaller farms, a study of Florida dairies has shown.

Using a sample of 100 dairy farms, researchers at the University of Florida have illustrated that the difference between peak and trough production is greatest on farms with lower annual milk production.

Florida’s production profile is characterised by high production in March, April and May and lower production during August, September and October, meaning spring exports and winter imports are commonly relied upon.

This allows for exports during the summer months and dependence on liquid imports from other states in winter, according to Professor Albert Devries, who was involved with the study.

He says seasonal variation is not ideal for milk marketing.

“Some Florida farms produce a more even amount of milk throughout the year while others are very seasonal,” wrote Professor DeVries in a recent extension newsletter.

“The more seasonal herds make more milk during the winter than during the late summer and early fall. We wondered how herd size was related to the seasonality of a farm’s milk production in Florida.”

Of the farms surveyed, annual production varied from a low of one million pounds to a high of over 120 million pounds – average was 19 million pounds.

The figures, from 2013, showed most milk was recorded in April, 17 per cent above the monthly average, with September being when milk was scarcest, at 20 per cent below average.

As a whole, the farms produced 178 million pound in April and 134 pounds in September.

Michael Priestley

Michael Priestley
News Team - Editor

Mainly production and market stories on ruminants sector. Works closely with sustainability consultants at FAI Farms


Top image via Shutterstock

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