USDA reported this afternoon that July milk production for the 23 major dairy states was up just 1.7% over last year. This represents a major slowing in milk production gains, which had been averaging 2.9% in the country through the first six months of 2008.
This should be positive news for milk markets, which have been taking a beating the last several weeks.
Cow numbers continue to build, with 128,000 more cows on U.S. farms in July compared to a year ago. There were 4,000 more cows on farms compared to June 2008. Note: The 25,000 cows targeted for slaughter through the Cooperatives Working Together program would likely still have been on farms when the July count was taken.
For the first time in memory, California reported a decrease in milk production, down 1% from a year ago. Cow numbers in the Golden State are still up 30,000 from last year, but milk per cow was down 35 lb. Over 1.846 million head, that takes a toll.
Texas was up a whopping 18.4% in milk production in July, with 35,000 more cows on the ground and milk per cow up 130 lb. New Mexico was up 9% in milk, reporting milk per cow up 150 lb. The other big gainer was Idaho, up 7.7% with 40,000 more cows.