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Panhandle’s Castro County Assumes No. 1 Milk Production Spot in Texas

October 24, 2011
By: Catherine Merlo, Dairy Today Western and Online Editor google + 

With its milk production shifting to the northwest region, the Lone Star State’s dairy landscape continues to evolve.

The Texas dairy landscape is changing, with the Panhandle’s Castro County moving into the No. 1 spot for milk production, reports the Texas Association of Dairymen (TAD) in its October newsletter.
The long-standing milk production area of Hopkins County, east of Dallas, is no longer one of the top 10 milk production counties in Texas, notes TAD’s executive director Darren Turley. Castro County rose to the No. 1 spot for milk production for the first time, moving Erath County into the No. 2 spot.
The continued growth in the Texas Panhandle will most likely drive the Lone Star state to become the sixth largest milk-producing state in the country this year, writes Turley.
“The abundant heifer population and the high beef price seemed to help producers hold up summer production by replacing older cows with young heifers throughout the year,” he says.
While various sections of the state will supply the Texas population’s growing demand for dairy products, it’s the Panhandle that will likely play a major role.  Turley says the Panhandle’s “wide open spaces and moderate climate are quite inviting to producers from across the country.”
At 774 million pounds, Texas’ September 2011 milk production was up 10.1% over year-earlier levels, according to USDA’s milk production report released last week.
Texas cow numbers rose to 435,000 head, up from 415,000 in September 2010, and milk per cow increased to 1,780 lb., compared to 1,695 lb. a year earlier, USDA said.

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