March U.S. Milk Production Falls 0.4%
It finally happened. U.S. milk production actually went negative in March, with U.S. milk production down 0.4% in all 50 states and down 0.1% in the 23 top dairy states, the United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon. This is the first time since February 2017 that milk production was down, though that was an accounting difference because 2016 was a leap year and February 2016 had one extra day of milk production.
Notably, though, cow numbers are again down significantly, off 86,000 head in March from a year ago (-0.91%) and down 10,000 from February. USDA says there are now 9.344 million dairy cows on U.S. farms, down from 9.430 million a year ago.
Of the top 23 dairy states, 10 reported less milk production from a year ago in March, and 15 of those states reported fewer cows. Pennsylvania, for example, was down 29,000 head, New Mexico was down 12,000, Ohio and Virginia were each down 10,000, and California was down 9,000.
Even the growth states of Texas, Colorado and South Dakota are feeling the effects of tighter margins. Texas was up just 5.8% in milk production but with 27,000 more cows. Colorado was up 3.9% with 9,000 more cows, and South Dakota was up 3.5% with 4,000 more cows.
You can read the full March milk production report here.