December milk was down 0.8 percent compared to a year earlier for the top 23 dairy states, reports NASS in its January 19, 2010, Milk Production report. When looking at the entire country, milk production was down 1.o percent for the last quarter (October to December) and down 0.9 percent for December.

For the top 23 dairy states, total milk cows were down 206,000 head compared to last December. However, when compared to just a month earlier, milk cows are steady. Cows still in herds are more productive, up 29 pounds compared to a year earlier, for a 1,758-pound monthly average per cow.

On a national basis, preliminary numbers suggest milk production was down 0.4 percent for the past year. Total milk stood at 189,259 million pounds for 2009. The estimated 9.2 million cows in the national herd averaged 20,572 pounds per cow this past year. A finalized report will be released next month.

Western states again led the states that were down in production this past December. The largest drops in production included:
• Colorado, down 11.1 percent
• Arizona, down 10.9 percent
• Missouri, down 8.0 percent
• Kansas, down 5.1 percent
• California, down 4.6 percent
• New Mexico, down 3.2 percent
• Utah, down 2.7 percent

The Midwestern states again led the gainers:
• Wisconsin, up 4.3 percent
• Iowa, up 3.6 percent
• Minnesota, up 3.2 percent
• Washington, up 1.9 percent
• Indiana, up 1.8 percent
• Ohio, up 1.2 percent
• Michigan, up 2.4 percent