Farm Credit East Issues 2018 Dairy Farm Summary

2018 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

The 2018 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary summarizes the results of 305 dairy farms of all sizes, from across the region.



Highlights of the 2018 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary

  • 305 dairy farms participated in the 2018 Northeast Dairy Farm Summary.1
  • Profitability decreased in 2018 from 2017. Net earnings declined to an average loss of -$40 per cow in 2018,2from a profit of $291 per cow in 2017. This is largely due to a decrease in farm milk price of $1.13 per hundredweight (cwt.) to $17.19.
  • Costs were nearly flat from 2017 to 2018. Total expenses per cwt. increased by $0.04 per cwt. to $20.36 in 2018.3
  • Net cost of production4 (NCOP) increased to $17.72 per cwt., $0.26 greater than 2017.
  • Some specific cost categories which changed in 2018 are:
    • Feed expense, a farm’s largest cost, increased from $1,590 per cow in 2017 to $1,630 in 2018.
    • Labor, a dairy farm’s second largest expense, decreased 5.2 percent per cow, and 4.3 percent per cwt.
    • Fuel expenses increased by 15.2 percent per cow after a similar increase the prior year.
  • ™™Productivity decreased slightly. Per cow production in our sample herds was 0.9 percent lower than the prior year.



  • Milk sold per worker increased 4.6 percent due to more cows per worker.
  • Cash flow was short of meeting all financial commitments (e.g., operating expenses, debt repayment, family living and income taxes), resulting in an average cash margin per cwt. of -$0.49.5 This represents the fourth consecutive year of negative cash margins.
  • Percent net worth in our sample decreased to 66 percent. Total debt-per-cow increased from $3,814 to $4,257.
  1. This year’s DFS contains data from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York.
  2. On an accrual basis, after family living, not including nonfarm income.
  3. Including family living.
  4. Total farm expense, plus family living, less non-milk income. For more information, see page 12 of report.
  5. See figure 7 in report.


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