The November “Milk Production” report arrived just in time for the holidays, but other than reduced milk-cow numbers, it brought with it few surprises.
According to the report, released Dec. 17 by the USDA, milk output totaled 11.6 billion pounds across the top-20 dairy states during November — a decline of just 0.2 percent.
The report also showed a slight revision in October milk production. Milk production fell just 0.1 percent during October — instead of the preliminary 0.2-percent decline reported during November.
Cow numbers — the most bullish part of the report — totaled 7.71 million head during November — 82,000 head less than a year ago and 10,000 head less than October. The month-to-month decline in cow numbers is quite a change compared to the 24,000-head reduction between September and October. The table at right shows cow numbers in the top-20 dairy states during November.
Although less than half of the top-20 dairy states saws gains in milk production, there were three top achievers: Texas, Idaho and New Mexico — posting gains of 8.9 percent, 8.8 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively. Idaho and New Mexico also gained 22,000 head and 15,000 head of dairy cows during November versus a year ago. Texas posted a 1,000-head gain in cow numbers versus a year ago.
Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida faired the worst during November — down 8.8 percent, 7.9 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. Pennsylvania also saw a 31,000-head reduction in cow numbers during November versus a year ago. The nation’s number one and number two dairy states — California and Wisconsin — posted modest milk-production gains of 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.
Milk production per cow in the 20-major dairy states showed a 13-pound gain during November compared to a year ago. Milk production per cow averaged 1,509 pounds for the month, or roughly 50 pounds per cow per day.