September 22, 2014 — Analyzing Friday afternoon’s August Milk Production report data more closely, California milk production was up 1.4 percent on a 30 pound gain per cow although cow numbers were off 2,000 head. Wisconsin was up 1.2 percent, thanks to a 25 gain per cow but cow numbers were down 2,000 as well. Idaho was up 3.1 percent, thanks to a 40 pound gain per cow and 6,000 more cows. New York was up 2.7 percent on a 35 pound gain per cow and 5,000 more cows. Pennsylvania inched 0.6 percent higher on a 20 pound gain per cow but cow numbers were down 3,000 head. Minnesota was up 0.5 percent on a 25 pound gain per cow but cow numbers were down 5,000 from a year ago.
Oregon was the only state showing a decrease. The biggest gain was in Florida, up 8.4 percent, and Colorado, up 8 percent. From there we go to Michigan, up 6.7 percent on a 65 pound gain per cow and 13,000 more cows. Texas was next, up 6.2 percent on 30,000 more cows, though output per cow was down 10 pounds. Two other states we watch; New Mexico was up 2.7 percent on a 35 pound gain per cow and 5,000 more cows. Washington State was up 2.4 percent, thanks to 20 pounds more per cow and 4,000 more cows than a year ago.
Milk Production Report Fed the Bears or the Bulls? High Ground Dairy’s Eric Meyer takes up that discussion in his Monday analysis of Friday’s August Milk Production report. He points out that, after a mild July and continued increases in milk cows took production close to the 4 per cent year-over-year growth mark, a more seasonally temperate August against a very mild month in 2013 only managed to achieve 2.5 per cent production growth this past month.
While some may argue these results were bullish, we believe production was right in line with our expectations when looking at last year’s comparison and its anomaly against the rest of 2013. Unless the milking herd does not continue increasing (in this report, Aug DECLINED versus July’s revised figure), we fully expect a return to the 3.5 to 4 per cent (or higher) growth trend through AT LEAST the remainder of 2014 and quote possibly into Q1 2015.
As mentioned above, we are a bit concerned about the lack of monthly herd growth in August as USDA published 1,000 head declines in both the All-US and 23 selected state herd tallies from July. But we struggle to get to a monthly herd loss when looking at recent dairy cow slaughter data. During July ’14, dairy cow slaughter was 232,000 head, down 7.6 per cent from July ’13. And based on weekly dairy cow slaughter volumes published by USDA in August, the four week total from 4 Aug through the 30th, 216,500 dairy cows were culled which was a decline of 9.7 per cent from Aug ’13.
We suspect that USDA will be busy revising August’s milking herd HIGHER as they have over the past five months. To read more of Meyer’s analysis, write him at email@example.com.