2024 dairy returns might improve

Dairy cows

Prices paid in 2024 for dairy products should be similar to 2023, while net returns may be better, according to University of Missouri Extension economist Scott Brown.

Brown told attendees at the 2024 Missouri Dairy Expo that average weather and feed costs will be key factors for this year’s outlook.

On the supply side, milk production has been down for the past seven months relative to a year ago. Dairy cow inventory has been lower since early 2023, Brown said. States that have experienced decline differ from the typical ones and include California, Colorado and Texas, which had been growing. Cheese prices have been lower than many in the industry expected as demand has slowed. Lately, some recovery in cheese prices has provided some help to milk prices.