January milk up 1%

February 18, 2009 06:00 PM

January milk production in the 23 major dairy states was up 1% compared to last year, USDA reported this afternoon. Cow numbers were also up 58,000 head compared to a year ago, but down 12,000 head compared to December 2007.

Today's report also includes the 2008 annual summary, which shows 2008 U.S. milk production climbed 2.3% over 2007, coming in at 190 billion lb. Milk per cow was 20,396 lb., up just 192 lb. over 2007. (Since 1999, milk per cow has jumped 14.8%.) But cow numbers averaged 130,000 more in 2008 compared to 2007, attributing for the increased milk production for the year.

The 2008 annual summary also shows a re-ranking of the top 10 dairy states. Idaho now trails New York by just 117 million lb. for the #3 spot. Texas moves up to #7 from # 8, New Mexico climbs to the #8 spot (from 9th last year) and Michigan drops back to #9 (from #7). Texas cow numbers have climbed 29,000 head in the past year, but New Mexico is up just 6,000 cows. New Mexico's milk per cow, however, now averages 23,269 lb, up 6% in just one year.  Michigan was actually up 15,000 cows in 2008, but milk per cow dropped 581 lb. Some analysts have attributed this production drop to the loss of rBST in Michigan.

In terms of milk per cow, Arizona leads the nation at 23,382 lb. Washington is second at 23,344 lb and New Mexico is third.

In January, California milk production declined 1.4%, or 50 million lb. Cow numbers declined 7,000 head, and milk per cow declined 20 lb.

Texas was the big gainer in January, up 13% in milk production with cow numbers climbing 28,000 head over a year ago. Milk per cow in Texas was also up 95 lb. in January over last year. Kansas also reported a 10.6% jump in milk production, with cow numbers climbing 10,000 head over last year. The two other biggest gainers were Colorado and New Mexico, both up 5.5% in milk.
Among the other largest dairy states, Wisconsin was up 1% in milk and 5,000 in cows. New York was up just 0.3% in milk, with cow numbers actually declining 2,000 head. Idaho was up 0.9% in milk and 20,000 in cows. Pennsylvania was down 0.3% in milk and 2,000 head in cows.

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