U.S. milk production should see an increase in 2014. An increase in forage quality this year as compared to last year’s, as well as improved financial returns, will encourage dairy producers to feed higher-quality rations. That’s according to the April Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

National milk production is now projected to total more than 206 billion lbs this year, up slightly from the March forecast total. Higher output per cow, projected at 22,280 lbs, as well as an expected herd expansion later in the year are the major factors behind the forecast.

For the year, ERS forecasts a Class III milk price of  $20.40-20.90/cwt. The all-milk price is now forecast at $22.55-23.05/cwt.