June is diary month, and thanks to Nebraska’s hardworking dairy farmers and families, Nebraskans can celebrate with a tall glass of milk. With a growing number of more than 55,000 dairy cows in the state, Nebraska’s dairy industry produced 139 million gallons of milk last year and was able to provide Nebraska families with a number of nutritious dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt and much more.
“On behalf of 23,000 Nebraska corn farmers, we are proud to celebrate Dairy Month and the value added opportunities Nebraska’s dairy industry offers us”, said Debbie Borg, a farmer from Allen, Nebraska and Director on the Nebraska Corn Board. “The dairy industry is a major consumer of corn not only in Nebraska, but also in states such as California.”
“One single dairy cow has an estimated economic impact of $5,000 per year on Nebraska communities,” Borg added. “When you look at the sector’s total impact, it’s considerably higher because so many dollars circulate several times through the local economy. Everything from a strong tax base, to feed, veterinary care, equipment, trucking, milk processing and more, a strong dairy sector is good for the state.”
Here in Nebraska, there are 195 dairy farms that are producing milk for consumers located in the state, across the U.S., and around the world. On average, a dairy cow can produce 7 gallons of milk a day, which ends up being 2,508 gallons in a typical year.
“There are a lot of things that attribute to this large output of milk, such as Nebraska’s resources of feed, land, water, labor, and most of all, Nebraska’s quality of life,” said Borg. “When looking at feed, Nebraska’s corn industry provides the dairy industry with an abundant and sustainable supply of high quality feed.”
Boone McAfee, Director of Market Development and Research with the Nebraska Corn Board, noted that there is a tremendous synergy between the dairy industry and corn industry, especially when it comes to the corn-ethanol co-product, distillers grains.
“Dairy cattle consume a lot of feed on a daily basis, and corn and distillers grains along with many locally-produced feedstuffs are an important part of their ration,” McAfee said. “Distillers grains are a beneficial high-protein feed ingredient in a dairy cow’s diet and on average they will consume five or more pounds of dried distillers grains a day.”
McAfee also noted that one benefit of distillers grains is that it provides dairy cows the necessary fiber. This fiber helps the cows have a better digestive system, which in turn helps keep the animal healthy.