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Latest USDA Milk Production Report: Cow Numbers Up, Milk Production Up

The August Milk Production report underscored positive growth that unfolded in the industry last month. The latest USDA report outlines U.S. milk production is up a modest 1.6% over August 2021. Even so, cow numbers declined 11,000 head from a year ago, but increased by 8,000 head from July 2022.

The top six states for milk production documented mixed results.

As documented in the report, Texas led the way in year-over-year growth, up 30,000 head from August 2021. South Dakota continues its positive cow growth movement, up 22,000 head. Iowa and Georgia also saw increases, up 13,000 and 11,000 head, respectively. The states that showcased the heaviest downward trend in cow numbers are New Mexico and Michigan, down 24,000 and 15,000 head, respectively.

Phil Plourd, head of market intelligence at Ever.Ag said that the numbers certainly came in ahead of his expectations.

“But we were comparing against relatively weak performance last year,” Plourd explains. “For example, cow numbers dropped 45,000 head between July and August last year, which explains how we closed the year-over-year gap to only 11,000 head this August.”

Plourd says there is a good chance we could see cow numbers move above year-prior numbers when the next USDA report comes out because last year we lost another 33,000 cows from August to September.

“I think it’s also fair to say that California featured favorable weather for most of this August, which wasn’t the case last year,” he said. “The reverse was true in Wisconsin, where things did get a little hot last month.”

Altogether, Plourd says that the numbers had a decidedly bearish tilt.

“We think we’ll see decent growth in September, but we don’t expect huge increases anytime soon,” he says.

With improved milk production per cow, the August milk production summary witnessed monthly production in the U.S. and major dairy states up 34 lbs. per cow from year-over-year.


September 21, 2022



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