Following the economic devastation in 2009, many Michigan producers began reinvesting in their operations and growing cow numbers and total milk production. According to a report by DairyBusiness Communications in June 2012, Michigan ranked eighth in the U.S. for total milk production in 2011, contributing 8.48 million pounds to the country’s 196.25 million pounds. While Michigan ranked sixth in the nation for milk per cow at 23,164 pounds, production per cow was down 113 pounds in 2011 compared to 2010.
The U.S. dairy cow herd grew in 2011 by 75,000 up to 9.194 million head. In Michigan, the herd grew from 2010 to 2011 from 358,000 to 366,000 head, contributing to a 1.7 percent increase in milk production (8.48 million pounds). Although total cow numbers have grown in Michigan, the number of commercially licensed dairy farms (grade A or B), has continued to decline. Between 2010 and 2011, 70 herds in Michigan either went out of business or were merged, leaving 2,160 herds selling milk in Michigan. This is consistent with a U.S. trend of 3.1 percent loss from 2010 to 2011, and 17.1 percent decline from 2006-2011. Michigan is slightly less than the U.S. trend at 14.6 percent commercial dairy herd decline since 2006 (Michigan had 2,530 dairies in 2006).
Although the largest herd size in the Midwest, Michigan’s average herd size is slightly below the U.S. average of 179 head at 169 head per herd. This number is up 43 cows per herd since 2006.
Record high milk prices in 2011 boost producer cash receipts from milk marketing (gross income) to a record $39.5 billion for the U.S., up 26 percent from 2010. Michigan ranked eighth in the U.S. for milk marketing receipts totaling $1.77 billion. Michigan’s all milk price for 2011 averaged $21.00/cwt., giving an average income of $4,864/cow/year, third highest in the nation (Florida averaged $5,062/cow and Washington averaged $4,911/cow). The average U.S. cow generated $4,322 in 2011, up from just $2,660 in 2009.
For more information, read the USDA’s full report.