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Profile of the Virginia Dairy Industry

Dairy Pipeline: December 1998

Charles C. Stallings
Extension Dairy Scientist, Nutrition
Virginia Tech

Recent survey gives a profile of the Virginia dairy industry. A survey conducted by Gordon Groover in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics supplies some interesting results when broken down by area of the state. This was done for our recent In-service education sessions we conducted for Extension Agents. He broke down the state into Central (107 farms responding), Northern (91), and Southwestern (177) areas plus the individual counties of Rockingham (173), Augusta (60), and Franklin (58). Herd size and pounds of milk per cow per year were 128 and 18,601 for Central, 152 and 17,462 for Northern, 98 and 17,334 for Southwest, 90 and 18,987 for Rockingham, 124 and 18,377 for Augusta, and 145 and 18,607 for Franklin. Therefore, largest herds are in the Northern area and in Franklin County. Smallest herds are in Rockingham County and Southwest. Interestingly, the highest milk per cow was in Rockingham County followed by Franklin County and the Central part of the state. Another interesting observation is Rockingham and Augusta Counties seem to have different herd sizes with Augusta averaging 34 more cows per farm than Rockingham. Total mixed ration and BST usage was 62% and 20% in Central, 67 and 14 in Northern, 50 and 15 in Southwest, 46 and 15 in Rockingham, 64 and 32 in Augusta, and 67 and 42 in Franklin County. Across all farms there were 3.3 crop acres per cow of corn (1 acre), hay (.7), pasture and hay (.4), permanent pasture (1), and other (.3). Also 68% of the farms were on DHIA and milk per cow was 18,820 pounds per cow compared to 17,057 for nontested herds. These results clearly show that Virginia is rather diverse and conditions vary by area of the state. One constant is the fact that production per cow and herd size are increasing and this is likely to continue.

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