Despite terrible weather in June, Texas showed the largest year-over-year increase in milk production of any state in the top 23 dairy states — by a large margin. It also had the highest increase in May.

It seems counterintuitive, but there is an explanation.

For Texas, this spring and summer has been marked by hot weather and drought. Amarillo, the largest city near many of the dairies in Texas, had three days of 100 degrees or higher in May and 13 in June, according to the Amarillo Globe-News. On June 26, the temperature in Amarillo reached 111 degrees F.

The 10.3-percent increase in milk production in June is related to the fact there were more cows. From June 2010 to June this year, the number of milk cows rose by 24,000 head, a 5.8 percent increase, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Milk Production” report this past Tuesday. 

The Texas dairy industry has grown rapidly in recent years.

According to Kevin Lager, Texas AgriLife extension associate, industry growth resumed last year after a terrible financial year in 2009. That growth was aided by generally favorable weather last fall and winter. 

He acknowledges that the recent spate of hot weather in Texas has cut into feed intakes, which has cut into milk production. Certainly, that was the case in June when milk per cow dropped to 1,850 pounds, compared to 1,950 pounds in May and 1,915 pounds in April, says the USDA.

And, it turns out that June 2010 — from which the 10.3 percent increase in milk production is derived — was a relatively low month for milk per cow at 1,775 pounds. That helped make June 2011 look good by comparison.

Texas' 10.3 percent increase in June was significantly higher than any other state. Colorado was second at 6.8 percent.