Girl pouring milk into glass.
February 21, 2017

U.S. Sets Another Milk Production Record in 2016

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The U.S. again set a record in milk production, producing 212 billion lb. of milk in 2016, up 1.8% over 2015. Milk per cow also climbed nearly 400 lb to 22,774 lb, the United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon. The total number of cows in the United States averaged 9.33 million head.

California, still the leading dairy states, saw 2016 milk production decline 1% over a year ago, and cow numbers drop 14,000 head. Wisconsin, the nation’s #2 dairy producer, saw milk production climb 3.8% while cow numbers held steady.

New York remained the #3 milk producing state, out-pacing Idaho by just 100 million lb. New York saw milk production climb 4.8% in 2016 while Idaho’s output was up 3.9%.

Top honors for milk per cow went to Colorado, averaging 25,980 lb/cow while Michigan came in second, at 25,957 lb/cow.

January 2017 milk production was up 2.5% over a year ago, with cow numbers up 56,000 head. The January milk production report was “really a slap across the face to dairy market bulls. Both cow numbers and milk-per-cow figures showed impressive growth as winter weather pummeled certain parts of the country – but certainly not all,” say FC Stone dairy analysts.

For the first time in several months, California went back into negative territory, with output slipping 0.6% in January. It had been up the previous several months. Cow numbers in the Golden State are down 14,000 head from a year ago. Milk per cow, which had been California’s strength the last few months, actually declined by 19 lb. year over year.

The big production increases came in Texas, up a whopping 19.2% from a year ago.  But remember, January 2016 saw the huge blizzard in the High Plains. Cow numbers in Texas were up 39,000 head from a year ago. New Mexico also saw its production jump 15.3% from last year, with cow numbers up 15,000 head.

Read the full USDA report here.