Aug. 23 2012 08:51 AM

USDA released its July Milk Production report last Friday, August 17

by Amanda Smith, Hoard's Dairyman Associate Editor

Production in the 23 major dairy producing states remained static for two consecutive months. With a slight revision of less than 0.1 percent from preliminary estimates, June milk production was bolstered 2 million pounds to 15.5 billion pounds. Production for July in the 23 major states also totaled 15.5 billion pounds.

The preliminary production estimates for July are a 0.8 percent hike from July 2011 production levels at 15.39 billion pounds. Production per cow averaged 1,826 pounds in July. This represented a 6-pound boost from the same time frame last year. Compared to June 2012, cow numbers on dairies in the 23 major states dropped 7,000 head. The 8.5 million milk cows on these dairies though still represents a 41,000-head gain compared to July of last year.

Through the first half of the year, milk production in the U.S. is 102.5 billion pounds. For the same six-month period in 2011, production totaled 98.9 billion pounds. This represents a 3.6 billion pound rise in milk production compared to last year. Milk per cow has also posted significant gains in the U.S. For the first quarter, production per cow rose 227 pounds. In the second quarter, gains were a moderate 73 pounds per cow.

In the 23 major states, significant milk production gains have been seen month over month when compared to 2011. The largest gains were posted in February and March with an 8.2 and 4.3 percent boost over 2011 production, respectively. The smallest production gains were seen with July's slight 0.8 percent.

For the month of July, six states had year over year declines in production. California, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington had declines of 1, 2.7, 1.8, 1.5, 2.4 and 3.3 percent, respectively. With the exception of Pennsylvania the production drops were all in West or Southwestern states.

To counteract these drops, production gains above 3 percent occurred in Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Utah and Wisconsin. Colorado posted the most significant gain at 5.8 percent with Missouri gaining 4.7 percent.

To view the complete report, click here.