The USDA’s 20-state, milk-production report, released yesterday afternoon, shows June milk production at 12 billion pounds, down 0.5 percent from June 2000. Meanwhile, May revised production was 12.6 billion pounds, down 0.9 percent from May 2000.

Also announced, quarterly production for April through June was 42.6 billion pounds, down 1.3 percent compared to the same time period last year.

California, Idaho and Indiana experienced large increases in milk production during June — 86 million pounds, 35 million pounds and 33 million pounds, respectively. However, declines were seen in Wisconsin, Texas and Minnesota — 67 million pounds, 47 million pounds and 42 million pounds, respectively.

The report also showed cow numbers at 7.75 million head for the month, a decrease of 61,000 head from last June, but 2,000 head more than May 2001.

Milk production per cow in the 20 major states averaged 1,552 pounds per cow for the month — about 51.7 pounds per cow per day. That’s 5 pounds more per cow per day than June 2000.

Those two factors — an increase in cow numbers above last month and an increase in milk per cow above last year — indicate bearish prices may be ahead. However, market analysts don’t expect prices to collapse. Among other factors, the hot weather affecting most of the U.S. this month will likely cause July milk production to be lower than last year’s levels. That, combined with steady to increasing cheese prices, could stabilize milk prices going into the fall.