The United States Department of Agriculture reported that March milk production climbed 0.9% in the United States compared to a year earlier.
Cow numbers increased 3,000 head compared to February. But because of the Federal sequester last year, there were no March 2013 cow numbers to compare to.
Despite the drought in California, milk production was up 3.7%. Idaho production was up 1.7%. Other big gainers were Colorado, up 6.5%, Texas, up 6.4%, and Oregon, +4.2%.
Milk production in the Midwest fell, however, likely due to poor weather and poor feed. Wisconsin was down 1.6%, Minnesota was down 3.8%, Iowa was down 3.4% and Ohio was down 4.8%. Michigan was up just 0.3% and South Dakota climbed 1.8%.
You can read the full USDA production report here.
USDA also released its annual summary of livestock slaughter for 2013. Despite higher cull cow prices through much of 2013, dairy farmers sent just 23,400 more dairy cows to hamburger heaven last year. That's an increase of 0.7%. A total of 3,124,900 head of dairy cows were sent through Federally inspected plants, says USDA in its report. See pages 16 and 17.
Despite decreased milk production in the Midwest, margins are very strong. Depending on their production per cow, Midwest dairy farms are netting anywhere from $3 to $6.67/cwt after all costs are accounted for, says Robert Tigner, a Nebraska Extension dairy educator. You can read the full dairy margin article here.