Anders, Richard A. (Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station, 1954-12)
      Over 10 million pounds of milk were produced in Alaska during 1953. Almost two-thirds of this was produced in the Matanuska Valley . Milk sales were greater than sales of any other farm product. During the year 1953, dairymen in creased herd size by an average of 3 milk cows. Most of this increase came from first calf heifers which brought with them lower milk production. About half of the dairy farmers sold over 125,000 pounds of milk per farm . The average dairy farmer had 288 acres of which 104 were cropland. Dairymen had 4.6 acres per animal unit in feed crops. The trend in use of cropland was toward more hay, silage and pasture and less grain, potatoes and vegetables. Dairymen have been increasing their acre ages of grass for hay and pasture. In 1953, 41 percent of the acreage cut for hay was a grass mixture. Purchased feed was the greatest single expense. It amounted to about one-fourth of total expenses. Machinery purchases were second and labor was third. Fertilizer , the fourth largest expense, amounted to $8. 50 per acre of cropland. Milk sales made up 88 percent of the cash income. The net returns from farming ranged from a loss of over $7, 000 to a net gain of over $14,000 . The average was $4, 843. Fifteen dairymen realized over $6,000 . Fourteen farmers who realized a high net return from dairying had 7 more cows and sold 2, 200 more pounds of milk per cow than the 14 farmers who had a low net return. Furthermore, they bought more fertilizer and realized more from each dollar spent for purchased feed. Average cost of keeping one producing cow for the y e a r, except for unpaid operator and family labor and interest on family capital, was $664.11 . It cost an average of $7.97 to produce 100 pounds of milk . The range was from $4,07 to $13.97 per hundredweight per farm .