The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported this afternoon that May milk production climbed 1.3% over year earlier levels. Production in the top 23 dairy states was up 1.5%. Even so, this is the third consecutive month where percentage growth trailed year earlier increases.
Cow numbers continue to build, however, with USDA estimating numbers now total 9.2 million head, up 13,000 cows from April and 81,000 head a year ago. Cows numbers have not been this high since June 2009.
California milk production was up 3.7% in May, increasing 132 million lb. This is the equivalent of adding another Missouri. Cow numbers in California climbed 17,000 head. The biggest percentage gain in milk production came in Texas, despite the drought in the Lone Star State. Cow numbers in Texas were up 20,000 cows.
The Number 2 dairy state, Wisconsin, saw milk production decline 1.8% in May (though cow numbers were up 5,000). Other Midwest states reporting declines included Minnesota, -2.7% and Illinois, -4%. Iowa milk production was +0.3% despite reporting 4,000 fewer cows.
Out East, New York was down 1.4% in milk, Pennsylvania was down 0.8%, and Vermont was even with a year ago.