NMSU Dairy ExtensionWelcome to the NMSU Dairy Extension Program

Providing information, technology and sound science to and regarding the dairy industry in New Mexico.


Email ces_dairy@nmsu.edu


Importance of the New Mexico Dairy Industry

The State of the Dairy Industry in New Mexico (as compared to 2000): 15 years of dairying in New Mexico:

The dairy industry in New Mexico barely survived the two worst years in dairy history (2009 and 2012), and only because these two years were followed by a good year in 2011 and in 2014. Still the net rate of return over 15 years of production for the average NM dairy farmer was -$0.10 per cwt. of milk produced. Continued consolidation are the two keywords describing the dynamics playing out in the industry. Over the last decennium dairy farm numbers across the US have continued to decline (-32%) as well as in New Mexico (-24%). Dairy cow numbers are not nearly as sensitive to these changes, indicating consolidation across the sector. Milk production continues to improve (+18%), a great story of efficiency and sustainability by farmers producing more milk with less inputs! New Mexico remains the number one State in production per cow because dairy cows truly enjoy the dry Southwestern climate! Cows typically enjoy a cool afternoon breeze on hot summer days resting comfortably under the shades, while dissipating the heat accumulated during the cool nights. In turn, the winters are relatively mild compared to other key dairy production areas of the US. New Mexico is the first State where production per cow has broken the 25,000 lbs record due to great cow comfort and care, combined with excellent nutrition and forage quality.

(Updated September 2015)
Direct Economic Impact to the New Mexico Economy (2013) $1.51 billion $40.5 billion
Portion of Gross Receipts of NM or US Economy 3.6% 0.13%
Dairy Receipts as a % of NM Total Farm Receipts (2013) 39.7%
Beef Receipts as a % of NM Total Farm Receipts (2013) 40.9%
Total Employment Generation in NM (2013) 12,524 jobs 282,831 jobs
Labor income generated (2013) $599 million 9.9 billion
Southwest Contribution to US (TX, NM & AZ) 12.5% 3rd largest dairy shed in the country
Cheese Production 6.6% of US 5th in the US
Number of Cows per Dairy (2014) 2,485 1st in the US
Contribution to National Milk Production 4.0% 9th in the US
Number of Milking Cows ( Jul 2015) 323,000 head down 12% from Aug 2006
Milk Produced (2014) 8.1 billion lbs up 18% from 2006
Milk productivity per cow 25,093 lbs 1st in the US
Number of Dairy Operations in NM (Jul 2015) 145 Dairy Farms Down 24% from 2003
Top 3 counties in NM (Curry, Chaves & Roosevelt) Produce 77% of NM Milk