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215dairy data MN

By Janet Kubat Willette

jkubat@agrinews.com

ST. PAUL — Minnesota ended 2006 with 5,000 more cows than it started with.

As of Jan. 1, 2007, there were 450,000 dairy cattle in Minnesota, up from 445,000 on Jan. 1, 2006, said Minnesota Department of Agriculture grants administrator Dave Weinand.

Those cows were spread over fewer farms as the number of dairy farms declined through the year. Minnesota lost 214 dairy farms in 2006, Weinand said. As of Jan. 1, there were 5,187 dairy farms in the state.

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Of those dairy farms, 4,584 were Grade A farms. Another 571 were Grade B farms and 32 were can farms. The can farms are primarily located in southeastern Minnesota’s Amish country and in a pocket in Todd and Wadena counties in central Minnesota.

The average dairy farm size continued to inch upward in 2006. As of Jan. 1, Minnesota’s average dairy farm had 86 cows, up from 83 a year earlier.

But Minnesota lost fewer farms in 2006 than it did in past years, Weinand said, adding there are a number of producers who are adding another 50 cows or looking at ways to bring in the next generation by expanding the cow herd.

"There’s obviously more optimism out there now, with the higher milk price, than there was last year," he said, basing his comment on the futures market.

The Class III futures market for September is more than $15 per hundredweight, he said. Individual producers can work with their cooperative to lock in a percentage of their production at those higher prices.

The average Minnesota milk producer will have about 18,565 pounds of milk per cow to sell. Milk production per cow was stable for 2006.

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