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August milk production down 0.3%


With U.S. dairy producers on the defensive due to feed and economic conditions, shrinking cow numbers and less milk output cow pulled August 2012 estimated milk production below the same month a year ago.

August milk production in the 23 major states totaled 15.31 billion lbs., down 0.2% from August 2011, according to USDA’s monthly Milk Production report. The number of milk cows on those states was 8.495 million head, 32,000 head more than August 2011, but 4,000 head less than July 2012. Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,803 lbs. in August, 10 lbs. less than  August 2011. 

Nine states, including seven in the West, had lower total milk production than a year earlier: Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Virginia. 

Compared to a year earlier, California and Michigan still have more cows than a year ago, up 10,000 each. Others with more cows than August 2011 are: Wisconsin (+7,000); Texas (+5,000);  Colorado and Florida (+4,000); Indiana, Iowa and Ohio (+3,000 each); Illinois (+2,000) and Utah (+1,000). 

Largest declines from a year ago were in Idaho, Pennsylvania, Washington (each -4,000) and Arizona (-3,000).

Cow numbers have declined about 51,000 head since peaking at 9.271 million in April 2012.

Nationally, August milk production was estimated at 16.42 billion lbs., down 0.3% from August 2011. Cow numbers, at 9.220 million, were up 20,000 from August 2011, but 6,000 less than July 2012. Milk per cow was down 9 lbs.

 July revised production at 15.50 billion lbs., was up 0.7% from July 2011. The July revision represented a decrease of 24 million lbs. or 0.2% from last month's preliminary production estimate.