For the second month in a row, milk production in the top 20 dairy states was down.

The USDA 20-state report showed January 2001 milk production at 12.1 billion pounds, down 1.5 percent from the same time last year. Although last month’s milk production report showed December 2000 production as unchanged compared to December 1999, revised figures now show December milk production actually declined by 0.7 percent.

Milk production per cow was also down. Four of the top five dairy states — California, Wisconsin, New York and Minnesota — had less milk per cow, and in the fifth state, Pennsylvania, milk per cow remained unchanged. These five states account for about 52 percent of all U.S. milk production. The average milk per cow for the top 20 states was about 50 pounds per cow per day for the month. That’s a decrease of about 1 pound per cow per day compared to January 2000.

Cow numbers were reported at 7.79 million head. Compared to January 2000, that’s an increase of 27,000 head. However, when compared to the herd high of 7.85 million head in October 2000, it’s a drop of 60,000.