February milk was up . . . but not as much

Hoard's Dairyman: 

February milk was up . . . but not as much

Date: 
Thu, 03/24/2011

Milk output during February in the top 23 states was up 2.4 percent over a year ago. But the growth rate was down slightly from 2.5 percent in January. Nationally, February output was up 2.0 percent compared to 2.1 in January. During 2010, U.S. milk production was up 1.8 percent. Last year, milk production was up most late in the year with September, October, November, and December being up 3.3, 3.0, 2.8, and 2.5 percent, respectively.

The February Milk Production report suggests that cow numbers have stabilized, at least for the time being. There were 8.404 million cows in the top 23 states during February . . . no change from January. Nationally, the U.S. dairy herd stood at 9.16 million in February, same as in January. Compared to last February, there were 17,000 more cows (+0.2 percent) in the top 23 states and 19,000 (+0.2 percent) more cows in the nation.

The modest growth in cow numbers compared to a year ago indicates that most of the gain in the month’s total milk production came from more milk per cow. February milk per cow compared to a year ago was up 1.5 percent in the top 23 states and was up 1.3 percent in the U.S.

Among the top states, California was up 2.4 percent in total milk during February. It did that with 8,000 (0.5 percent) fewer cows than a year ago. Wisconsin’s milk output was up just 0.5 percent. Milk per cow there was unchanged, but there were 6,000 more cows in the Badger state.

New York was up 3.8 percent milk, with a big jump in milk per cow. Idaho was up 3.4 percent during February, with a gain of 19,000 (+3.4) cows.

Last year, Idaho edged out New York to become the third largest milk state. However, during January and February, New York produced 37 million more pounds of milk than Idaho. Since Idaho’s gain came as a result of more cows, it is in a position to maintain the Number 3 spot as the year progresses. It will be interesting to watch milk production of those two states this year.

Number 5 Pennsylvania was down 0.2 percent in February. Number 6 Texas was up 8.8 percent, with 15,000 (+3.7 percent) more cows than a year ago.