September Milk Production Rises 1.1%

November 1, 2013 11:05 AM
September Milk Production Rises 1.1%

Despite lower feed costs, some dairies still restrict production.

U.S. milk production in the 23 major milk-producing states rose 1.1% in September from year-earlier levels, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said today.

Milk output totaled 14.8 billion pounds, with production per cow reaching 1,741 lb., up 12 lb. from September 2012.

The number of milk cows on U.S. dairies in the 23 major states reached 8.51 million head, 33,000 head more than September 2012 but 19,000 less than August 2013.

Today’s report marked the first time since March that USDA released a full set of data, with cow numbers as well as milk-per-cow production estimates.

Despite lower feed costs and strong milk prices, several states continue to restrict production. California, the nation’s No.1 milk producer, saw its September milk output rise just 0.4% over September 2012, to 3.197 billion pounds.

Major milk producers Idaho and New Mexico showed lower output from last year, at -1.5% and -1.4%, respectively. That’s no surprise to New Mexico dairy producer Art Schaap, who said high production costs remained problematic until September, when feed prices began to abate. Most of the state’s dairies are still climbing out of financial holes.

Midwest states continued to show production gains, with Indiana up 3.4%, Iowa up 5.5%, and Kansas up 5.9%. Michigan’s output rose 3.4%. Wisconsin increased its production by 1.0%.

Florida showed the biggest year-over-year percentage increase in milk production, rising 7.1% to 165 million pounds –- still small compared to most milk-producing states.

Milk production in all states totaled 15.837 billion pounds, an increase of 1.0% vs. year ago. "This was well below our expectation for a 2.9% increase," says Dave Kurzawski of INTl FC Stone.

Milk production for August was also revised lower by 45 million pounds.

Total cow numbers for all states showed a larger-than-anticipated decline, Kurzawski noted, falling by 25,000 head vs. August and coming in at 9.207 million head. 

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