The milk supply grew again during May, but the pace continues to slow.

In the top 23 dairy states, milk output totaled 14.7 billion pounds during May — up 2.8 percent versus a year ago, according to the USDA’s “Milk Production” report released June 16. That, however, is sharply lower than the nearly 6-percent production gains achieved between January and March, and the 3.7-percent gain seen during April.

Milk per cow in the top 23 states averaged 1,782 pounds during the month, or about 57 pounds per cow per day. Per cow output during May was about 1.3 percent higher than a year ago. Milk per cow also is slowing down compared to the previous month’s gain of 2.2 percent and the 4-percent gain achieved during March.

The number of milk cows grew 1.6 percent in the top 23 states during May versus a year ago. Cow numbers totaled 8.26 million head — up 128,000 head versus a year ago and 19,000 head more than April. The chart at right shows milk-cow numbers in each of the top 23 states during May versus a year ago.

The southwest again led the 23 states in milk-production gains. New Mexico was up 16.1 percent and Texas was up 10.9 percent. Arizona and Idaho came in third and fourth, respectively, with gains of 9.1 percent and 9 percent. Production losses took their biggest toll in Oregon and Missouri — down 6.5 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.

The USDA report also showed a slight downward revision in April milk production. Although still 3.7 percent higher a year ago, milk production during April was decreased 2 million pounds versus the preliminary estimate reported during May.

May milk cows (Top 23 dairy states)

 

2005

2006

% change

 

(1,000

head)

 

Calif.

1,751

1,785

1.9

Wis.

1,234

1,242

0.6

N.Y.

646

648

0.3

Pa.

565

556

-1.6

Idaho

445

485

9.0

Minn.

455

450

-1.1

N.M.

323

356

10.2

Texas

320

330

3.1

Mich.

312

319

2.2

Ohio

270

273

1.1

Wash.

243

237

-2.5

Iowa

193

200

3.6

Ariz.

163

173

6.1

Ind.

157

166

5.7

Vt.

144

142

-1.4

Fla.

138

133

-3.6

Ore.

121

121

0.0

Mo.

119

116

-2.5

Kan.

112

113

0.9

Colo.

104

109

4.8

Ill.

104

103

-1.0

Va.

105

103

-1.9

Ky.

107

99

-7.5

USDA