USDA: February Milk Production Declines 3.4%

March 19, 2013 11:00 AM
USDA: February Milk Production Declines 3.4%

California output drops a whopping 8% from year-earlier levels; some see report as bullish.

In its last monthly milk production report for the rest of federal fiscal year, USDA pegged U.S. milk production in the 23 major states during February at 14.6 billion pounds, down 3.4% from February 2012.

After adjusting for the leap year, however, production increased 0.1% above last year. 

California showed the biggest drop, with a whopping 8% reduction in output from year-earlier levels. Its February milk production declined to 3.225 billion pounds.

Arizona also saw a sharp decrease, reducing its February milk production by 6.8%, to 369 million pounds. Idaho cut its February milk production by 4.2%, to 1.002 billion pounds. New York, which had the second-highest milk output in February, decreased its production by 2%, to 1.034 billion pounds. Texas production fell by 5.4%, to 757 million pounds.

USDA   Feb monthly milk 3 19 13Midwest states continued to show growth. Kansas boosted its February production by 3.7%, to 222 million pounds, over February 2013 levels. Wisconsin milk production increased 0.3%, to 2.159 billion pounds for the month. Colorado rose 1.6% while Michigan rose by 0.6%.

"In our opinion, today’s milk production report is bullish," noted Dave Kurzawski with INTL FC Stone. "The milk production figures came in below expectations.

"From a domestic standpoint, total production is not specifically bullish," Kurzawski added. "But when we look at it through the global lens, these production numbers are bullish. We’ve grown dramatically as a supplier to the world, but if we’re seen as a 'balancing-plant' for a weakening global dairy production picture, it is our assertion that this report doesn’t cut it."

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,722 pounds for February, 58 pounds below February 2012. Milk per cow is showing signs of weakening in the Midwest, said Kurzawski, adding that a mix of colder weather and poorer quality feed this year dealt a one-two punch to Midwest producers in February.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states totaled 8.50 million head, 13,000 head less than February 2012, but 2,000 head more than January 2013.

January’s revised production at 15.9 billion pounds, was up 0.6% from January 2012. The January revision represented an increase of 6 million pounds or less than 0.1% from last month's preliminary production estimate.

Due to sequestration, all releases of this report have been suspended through the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2013. Please check the NASS website for any future updates on NASS programs.

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