(June 18, 2012) U.S. cow numbers declined from the previous month for the first time in 20 months. May 2012 U.S. cow numbers were down from April, the first month-to-month decline in total cow numbers since August-September 2010, according to USDA’s monthly Milk Production report. As a result, May 2012 milk production was up just 2% compared to May 2011, the smallest percentage year-to-year gain since September 2011.
Nationally, May production was estimated at 17.63 billion lbs., up 2.0% from May 2011. Cow numbers totaled 9.27 million, up 76,000 from May 2011, but 4,000 less than April 2012. Milk per cow was 1,901 lbs., up 22 lbs. from a year earlier. May milk production in the 23 major dairy states totaled 16.40 billion lbs., up 2.1% from May 2011. Milk cows in those states were estimated at 8.52 million head, 77,000 head more than May 2011, but 3,000 less than April 2012. Production per cow averaged 1,924 lbs., 22 lbs. more than May 2011. Compared to a year earlier, states with largest gains in cow numbers were: California (+16,000); Michigan (+11,000); New Mexico and Texas (+10,000 each); Arizona (+8,000); Colorado (+6,000); and Indiana, Washington and Wisconsin (+5,000 each). Five states had fewer cows than a year before – Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Dairy Profit Update