U.S. milk production climbed 1.7% in September compared to year-earlier production, the United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon. The increase was slightly less than the 2.1% rise reported in August. For the third quarter of 2011, milk production is up 1.4% over year-earlier.
USDA is estimating cow numbers were up 88,000 head in September over a year ago. But the 9.209 million head figure is unchanged from August 2011 and up just 1,000 head from the start of third quarter.
The biggest jumps in September production came in Florida, up 11.3% from a year ago. Cow numbers in the Sunshine State were up 6,000 head, a jump of 5.3%. The rest of the increase came from more milk per cow, up 75 lb./head in September.
Despite the drought and continued high heat in Texas, milk production there was up 10.1% in September. Cow numbers were 20,000 head higher than a year ago. Washington was up 5.5% in milk and 12,000 cows.
Four of the top 23 dairy producing states recorded declines in September milk output: Missouri, -4.5%; Pennsylvania, -1.5%; Ohio, -1.4%, and Minnesota, -0.7%. Cow numbers in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Ohio were down a collective 10,000 head. Minnesota was up 1,000 cows, but milk per cow was down a percentage point.