June 21 2012 07:38 AM

Year over year, the nation's dairy herd has grown by 77,000 head

by Amanda Smith, Associate Editor, Hoard's Dairyman

May milk production refused to buck the trend set by the preceding months. When compared to May 2011, 2012's production was up 2.1 percent in the 23 major states. The milk production estimates are provided by the USDA's Milk Production report that was released on Tuesday.

May 2012 Milk Production 2012

May's 16.4 billion pounds topped April production which was revised to 16 billion pounds. The April revision was a boost of 38 million pounds. Year over year, April saw production elevate 3.5 percent.

Production per cow rose a marginal 22 pounds compared to the same month last year to 1,924 pounds. The number of cows was tallied at 8.52 million, down 3,000 head from April. Despite this slight decline, compared to May 2011 the number of U.S. dairy cattle has expanded by 77,000 head. Despite the small blip this past month dairy herd numbers have gained strength since at least January 2011.

Year over year, two of the 23 major milk producing states including Iowa and Pennsylvania, saw production shrink. Production in Missouri, Minnesota, Vermont and Virginia remained static compared to May 2011. Utah (8.3 percent), Colorado (8.2 percent), Florida (7.3 percent) and Arizona (5 percent) all posted milk production gains over five percent from 2011.

For the full report, click here.