Cows at bunk
April 20, 2016

March Milk Production Up 1.8%

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon that March milk production was up 1.8% over last year, with cow numbers up 14,000 head over a year ago and up 10,000 head over February. January through March milk production was up 2.1%, and cow numbers for the first quarter were up 7,000 compared to last year.

Wisconsin was up 129 million lb. in March, or 4.1 million lb. per day. Cow numbers in the Badger State were also up 4,000 head.

South Dakota reported the largest percentage gain in milk production in March, up 10.9%. Cow numbers there were up 11,000 head over a year ago. Michigan, despite a negative milk price basis, was up 7.7% with cow numbers up 13,000 head and milk per cow up almost 3 lb./cow/day. New York was also up 5.5% in March, with cow numbers up 3,000.

California was again the biggest loser, with production there falling  90 million lb. from a year ago. Cow numbers were also down some 5,000 head, presumably reflecting some of the farm sales that have been occurring in California’s Central Valley.  An article this week from the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper reports dairies are closing while they still have equity left.

You can read the full March milk production report here.

USDA also released its 2015 annual livestock slaughter summary.   It shows 2.915 million dairy cows were slaughtered in federally-inspected plants in 2015, up just shy of 100,000 head over 2014, or an increase of 3.5%.