The dairy industry is Michigan's largest agricultural commodity, representing approximately 23% of agriculture's cash receipts over the past 5 years. In 2010, dairy cows in Michigan produced a total of 8.327 billion pounds of milk. Michigan ranked 8th in the U.S., producing 4.3% of the nation's milk. Figure 1 illustrates the steady upward trend for total milk production in Michigan since 2000.
The increase in milk production in Michigan during the past decade has been due to additional dairy cows in the state and a rise in milk production per cow. As of January 1, 2011, there were 361,000 dairy cows in the state, representing approximately 2,100 dairy herds. Since 2004, the number of dairy cows in Michigan has increased by almost 20% (Figure 2). During that same time span, annual milk production per cow in Michigan increased from an average of 20,842 pounds in 2004 to 23,260 pounds per cow in 2010 (12% gain per cow overall or 2% per year).
Michigan ranks 5th nationally for average milk production per cow per year. Below is a list of the top 5 states for annual milk production per cow in 2010 (USDA statistics).
Congratulations to Michigan dairy farmers and the Michigan dairy industry for the tremendous successes achieved during the past decade. "June is Dairy Month" is a great time to celebrate these accomplishments.
Source: Kathy Lee, Michigan State University Extension