The average herd size for a Pennsylvania dairy farm is approximately 100 cows, 83 of which are heifers, according to the Center for Dairy Excellence’s 2017 Pennsylvania Dairy Study Producer Survey.
The average farm is 267 acres and supports 1.46 households with 85 percent of the farm’s income coming from milk sales.
The majority of the farms, 66 percent, use tie stall facilities for housing herds, 31 percent use free stall facilities, and 3 percent use grouped housing on bedded pack or allowed herds to graze.
Women account for only 3 percent of farm owners with the average farm owner’s age being 53.
Challenges include lowering the cost of production and maximizing milk prices.
“The survey results offering (sic) a telling picture into the landscape of our dairy industry,” Jayne Sebright, the center’s executive director, said. “It speaks to what makes our industry unique here in Pennsylvania and where our farms plan to prioritize in the coming years.”
The survey was part of the larger Pennsylvania Dairy Study.
The survey respondents represent 995 farms, approximately 15 percent of the state’s dairy farms. The majority were in Berks, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, and Lebanon counties. The respondents had 88,000 head of cows, representing 17 percent of the state’s dairy herd.