Milk cow numbers on January 1 were up 8,000 head to 9.315 million cows compared to Jan. 1, 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon.
The bigger news is that dairy heifers greater than 500 lb. were up 2% from a year ago, to 4.824 million head. And those heifers expected to calve this year are up 2% as well, to 3.117 million. That may or may not be bad news, depending on how heavily dairy farmers cull older cows.
On the dairy cow front, Texas was down 10,000 head from a year ago, New Mexico, -8,000, and California, despite the on-going drought, was down just 5,000 cows.
South Dakota led the nation in increased cow numbers, up 11,000. Michigan was up 9,000; Idaho, 8,000, and both New York and Wisconsin, up 5,000 head each.