Cows eating
February 27, 2020

Where Does Your State Rank In Milk Per Cow?

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

January’s milk production report offers a whole host of information on milk production, not only state totals but milk production per cow. From that, analysts can glean who is gaining and losing market share and competitiveness.

The top five ranking states have remained fairly consistent over the past few years, with California leading the nation in total output, followed by Wisconsin, Idaho, New York and Texas. (Idaho overtook New York for the #3 spot in 2018.)

Milk production per cow is a bit of a different story, however. Washington and Arizona had typically led the nation in milk per cow for years. But that has changed over the past several years.

Michigan now leads the nation with 26,725 lb/cow, followed by Colorado, 25,844; New Mexico, 25,113; and Idaho, 25,010. Texas has moved into the #5 spot with 24,513 lb/cow, displacing Washington which had held that place in 2018. In 2019, Washington fell to #9.

Other states to make the Top Ten list in milk per cow were Wyoming, #6; Nebraska, #7, Iowa, #8. Arizona came in at #10.

In 2019, the other top milk producing states—Wisconsin, New York, and California—were there due to both cow numbers and milk per cow. Of these three, Wisconsin had 24,152 lb/cow; New York, 24,118 lb/cow, and California, 23,502 lb/cow.

Average milk per cow in the United States is 23,391 pounds. That’s up just 241 pounds from last year, or just 1%.

Keep in mind, too, that these are all estimates since cow numbers are based on producer surveys conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. While milk production is verified, cow numbers are producer supplied.

You can read more on how states rank in the February Marketing Service Bulletin produced by the Central Federal Milk Marketing Order.