Reversing a trend of declining milk production in January and February, U.S. dairy cows pumped out 0.6% more milk in March compared to a year ago. (In the 23 major dairy states, milk production was up 0.9%.)
U.S. cow numbers still lag year-ago figures by an estimated 193,000 head, USDA reported this afternoon. But the 9.09 million remaining cows each put 48 lb. more milk in the bucket in March than they did a year ago.
For the first quarter of 2010, milk production was down 0.1%. Cow numbers averaged 206,000 cows less than last year.
Production declines in California seem to be tapering off, with milk production down just 0.7% with 63,000 fewer cows. In February, California production was down 1.6%.
The biggest milk production drops came in Missouri, -9.4%, Colorado, -8.3%, Arizona, -7%, and Florida, -6.8%.
Wisconsin was the big gainer, with production up 6.3% over last year. Minnesota was up 3.8%, and Michigan was up 4.5%. On a percentage basis, Washington increased production 7.9% with cow numbers up 10,000 head.