Get to Know the Kentucky Dairy Industry
Stats from Progressive Dairy, April 1, 2023 “2022 U.S. Dairy Statistics”
Why Kentucky for dairy? Here's 10 reasons for success in the Bluegrass State.
- Federal Milk Marketing Orders #5 and #7 are the two orders that cover most of Kentucky. Price in Orders #5 and #7 are based on Class 1 or the fluid price of milk which is the highest value marketed. Federal Orders #7 and #5 rank 2nd and 3rd respectively in highest milk price nationwide with only Federal Order #6 being higher. The average Class 1 utilization for the year 2022 was Federal Order #5 – 68.49% and for Order #7 – 72.82%. There are 6 companies buying milk across the state to send to commercial processing plants.
- The top ag commodities are corn, soybeans, and broiler chickens- add in all of our bourbon distilleries and we have an abundance of byproducts that support dairy farms with sustainable feed and fertilizer like distiller’s grains, chicken litter, and more.
- Byproducts from Distillers & Ethanol- The byproducts of making ethanol, sweeteners, syrups, and oils used to be considered less valuable than the primary products. However, the increased livestock-feed market for such byproducts in the past few years has switched that perception so the ethanol industry is seen as producing grain-based byproducts that have market value separate from the primary products. Byproducts such as dried distiller’s grains, corn gluten feed, corn gluten meal, corn oil, solubles, and brewer’s grains have become economically viable components, along with traditional ingredients (such as corn, soybean meal, and urea), in feed rations.
- Distillers grains is one of the by-products from the process of distilling spirits. These grains are marketed in several forms based on moisture content. Distillers grains is an acceptable form of livestock feed and may be sold as wet, modified or dried. The nutrient composition of distillers grains is roughly concentrated and considered to be 3 times that of corn grain on a dry basis because approximately 2/3 of the corn grain is starch. In livestock diets distillers grains can be used to provide both protein and energy. https://eec.ky.gov/Environmental-Protection/Compliance-Assistance/DCA%20Resource%20Document%20Library/DistillersGrainsDistillery.pd
- Chicken Litter- Large amounts of broiler litter are expected to be available to Kentucky farmers for use as a nutrient source as the poultry industry expands. Litter is an excellent source of N, P2O5, and K2O and contains most secondary and minor nutrients. It also adds organic matter, which could benefit many soils. Litter is best used with crops such as corn and grass pastures or hay fields that can utilize N efficiently. Legume crops such as soybeans can be used in a rotation to help utilize carryover P2O5 and K2O.
- Kentucky is 17th in the nation for forage production. Our 4.46 million acres of cropland are productive for 7 months of the year and makes it easy to grow plenty of feed for our cows.
- There are 25.4 million acres of land in Kentucky. Just over 50% of that is considered farmland, about 12.8 million acres. Of that, 4.46 million acres is planted with soybeans, corn, hay/haylage, wheat, and tobacco. The top ag commodities in the state are soybean, corn, poultry, horses, and cattle. Between 40% and 50% of the corn grown in the state goes to feeding livestock. https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=KENTUCKY Progressive Dairy, April 1, 2023 “2022 U.S. Dairy Statistics”
- Kentucky's Growing Season- The typical start date, or date of the last frost, ranges from April 1st - May 15th. The growing season ends on the date of the first frost of fall, which can occur between October 1st - October 31st. This offers opportunities for double cropping and added efficiency.
- Also supporting forage production is our water sources. Kentucky’s average 49 inches of annual precipitation collects in 90,000 miles of streams in 13 major river basins and contributes to some regional groundwater depths of 40-60 feet.
- Approximately 49 inches of precipitation falls on Kentucky every year. About 40% of this water runs off into streams and 60% evaporates or is transpired by plants. Thirteen major river basins, containing more than 90,000 miles of streams, drain the state. Kentucky has more navigable miles of water than any other state except Alaska and is the only state bordered on three sides by rivers. Average depths to groundwater range from 40 feet in the Bluegrass Region to 60 feet in the Jackson Purchase Region. From the Kentucky Geological Survey (www.uky.edu/KGS)
- The state has been ranked lowest in the nation for cost of electricity- this means a Kentucky milkhouse can be a powerhouse without breaking the bank.
- We’re in the middle of everything. Our 20 interstates and major highways puts us a day’s drive from 2/3 of the US population. Add in that we’re well-served with 5 commercial airports, major rail networks, and barge traffic from 4 rivers and you have easy access to all things- work and play.
- Kentucky ranks in the top 10 in the nation for cost of doing business according to CNBC. We have innovative and progressive tax incentive programs and financial assistance geared specifically towards ag businesses.
- We’re focused on our future- starting with an active 4-H program, robust FFA organization, and more than 54 colleges and universities offering over 90 agriculture degree programs, Kentucky provides the resources needed to support the next generation in dairy.
- There are over 54 colleges and universities located in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 8 Public universities, 16 Private liberal arts colleges, 17 Private colleges and universities, 16 Community and Technical Colleges, 2 Dentistry Schools , 3 Law Schools and 3 Medical Schools.
- There are 8 colleges in Kentucky that offer degrees in agriculture. University of Kentucky offers 22 Agriculture degree programs. It's a very large, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 357 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 296 Bachelor's degrees, 41 Master's degrees, and 20 Doctoral degrees. Murray State University offers 6 Agriculture degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, four-year university in a remote town. In 2020, 186 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 128 Bachelor's degrees, and 58 Master's degrees. Western Kentucky University offers 11 Agriculture degree programs. It's a large, public, four-year university in a small city. In 2020, 89 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 74 Bachelor's degrees, 7 Master's degrees, 5 Associate's degrees, and 3 Certificates. Eastern Kentucky University offers 4 Agriculture degree programs. It's a large, public, four-year university in a faraway town. In 2020, 63 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 56 Bachelor's degrees, and 7 Associate's degrees. Morehead State University offers 1 Agriculture degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, four-year university in a remote town. In 2020, 45 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 45 Bachelor's degrees. Asbury University offers 1 Agriculture degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a outlying town. In 2020, 9 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 9 Bachelor's degrees. Brescia University offers 1 Agriculture degree programs. It's a very small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a small city. Lindsey Wilson College offers 1 Agriculture degree programs. It's a small, private not-for-profit, four-year university in a remote town. In 2020, 4 Agriculture students graduated with students earning 4 Bachelor's degrees.
- The average COA of Kentucky universities and colleges in 2023 is $21,450 for Kentucky residents and $32,494 for students from other States including tuition, fees, books, supplies, room & board (on-campus), and other living expenses.
- The average living costs of Kentucky colleges in 2023 is $13,596 when a student lives on campus such as dormitory and college apartment and $13,413 living off campus. 33 schools have on-campus living facilities in Kentucky State.
- The SmartHolstein Lab resides at Western Kentucky University and, in collaboration with the Holstein Association USA, it is a hotspot for dairy technology development and demonstration.
- Home to the Kentucky Dairy Development Council- a unique producer-led organization providing representation, educational resources, and financial opportunities to all Kentucky dairy farmers.