Recent Rains Allow Texas Dairies to Plant Spring Forages, Brighten Outlook

03:54PM Apr 30, 2012
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Overcoming drought setbacks, Texas dairy producers are prepared to meet world’s growing demand for food.

Texas dairy producers have brighter attitudes after recent rains have changed the landscape of Texas, reports Darren Turley, executive director with the Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD).
Most areas of the state have had enough moisture to plant a crop or harvest spring forage.
“After more than a year of severe drought, these are extremely valuable circumstances for forage production,” Turley notes in TAD’s April 2012 Dairy Dispatch newsletter. “The cost of forage has been staggering this last year, and producers cannot stand another year of drought conditions. All producers are optimistic that this marks the end of the drought.
However, the U.S. Drought Monitor said in early April that the drought still covers almost 85% of the state and is hitting parts of West and South Texas particularly hard.
But the rest of the industry also seems optimistic.
“The Texas Association of Dairymen has received calls for information on new dairies, new plants and about innovative dairy products,” Turley says. “There is a lot of optimism about the future of agriculture, especially for dairy.”
Turley cites a recent statistic he had read that stated that, “By tomorrow morning, 200,000 people will be born around the world. This will continue for the next day and the next and will only increase exponentially over time. The ability to feed the world is a task that is expected to be undertaken by America’s producers. The dairy industry already is undertaking this task.”
Dairy product exports have reached new heights, with 13% of U.S. domestic production being sold overseas for the first time. “This is a trend that is not expected to slow down in the future,” says Turley.
The domestic market is seeing a drastic increase in yogurt consumption and, with recent growing popularity of Greek-style yogurt, the category has seen new highs. “After tasting this product, it is easy to understand why this market will continue to grow as the product moves across the country,” he notes.
“The national dairy industry is poised for future growth and expansion,” says Turley. “Texas dairy producers will definitely increase production to help meet these demands. Texas dairymen have shown their resilience over the last few years, but the outlook is starting to brighten for dairy products and markets. The green landscape of spring is always a welcome sight, but it is enjoyed more following some relief to the extreme drought that the state of Texas has been experiencing.”