California’s Mid-Year Dairy Snapshot: ‘Negative Growth’

September 2, 2009 07:00 PM

For the first six months of 2009, California recorded decreasing milk production for each month compared to the previous year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) reports.


In its 2009 Mid-Year Review, CDFA's Dairy Marketing Branch notes that milk production in the Golden State reflected an average negative growth rate of -3.1% for the first six months of 2009. That compares to the 12-month average positive growth rate in 2008 of 1.3%.


For each of the first six months of 2009, California continued to record milk production over 3 billion pounds.


Overall, U.S. milk production has not recorded the consistent decline in milk production that California saw for the first half of 2009. For the U.S. overall, the first six months of 2009 showed production decreases in two of the months and no increase over 1.0% compared to the same time period in 2008.


However, there were still times in early spring when both U.S. and California plants were scrambling for plant capacity but not to the extent experienced in 2008, CDFA says. The strong demand for U.S. dairy products, particularly world demand in the export markets, came to a halt in early 2009. That helped lead prices paid to producers to the lowest levels since June 2003.


Through June of 2009, California dairy product growth continued to be focused on butter and powder products, with total cheese production down for the second consecutive year (-3.4% for the first six months of 2009 compared to 2008).


The world demand for milk protein products, such as skim milk powder and whey products, slowed considerably, CDFA reports, and the Commodity Credit Corporation continued purchasing excess nonfat dry milk. Purchases began in the fall of 2008.


For California production, compared to 2008, the first half of 2009 recorded increases of 14.6% in nonfat dry milk production (not including the skim milk powders and whey protein concentrates) and a decrease in production of butter of 4.6%. In addition, for January-June 2009, Class 1 sales of fluid milk in California showed a slight 0.3% increase compared to the same period in 2008.


Read more at: /files/stats_2009_mid-year_report.pdf.


Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at

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