The Number of Dairy Herds Fell in 2022

Dan Cattle, Dairy, This Land of Ours

There were fewer dairy herds in 2022. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

dairy herds

A USDA report says roughly six percent of U.S. dairy farms quit milking cows in 2022, but that was a slower rate of decline than during the past five years. Twenty years ago, there were 70,375 dairy herds in the country. In 2022, there were 27,932 herds, down from 29,842 in 2021.

Calendar-year 2022 saw an exit of 1,910 dairy herds across the nation, which was about six percent of the country’s dairy operations.  That compares to a loss of 1,794 herds nationwide, or 5.7 percent of the country’s total, in 2021. However, the decline was larger during the previous three years.


Over the past two decades, the U.S. lost an average of 2,300 dairy herds per year. Meanwhile, dairy cow numbers dropped slightly. The average herd size is growing, and per-cow and total milk production have increased. The average dairy herd size reached a record high of 337 head in 2022.

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The Number of Dairy Herds Fell in 2022

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.