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December cow numbers, milk output increase

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Cow numbers and milk output per cow grew in December 2012, resulting in the highest monthly percentage year-over-year milk production increase since May, according to USDA’s monthly Milk Production report, released Jan. 23.

Nationally, December 2012 cow numbers were estimated at 9.213 million head, up 16,000 from November 2012, but 10,000 less than December 2011. Milk output per cow was estimated at 1,826 lbs. in December 2012, up 31 lbs. from December 2011. Total milk output was estimated at 16.83 billion lbs. up 1.6% from the year before.

 

December 2012 cow numbers in the 23 major dairy states were estimated at 8.490 million head, up 16,000 from November 2012 and 5,000 more than December 2011. Milk output per cow was estimated at 1,848 lbs. in December 2012, up 30 lbs. from December 2011. Total milk output in those states was estimated at 15.43 billion lbs., up 1.7% from December 2011.

 

2012 estimates

With the December preliminary estimates, USDA provided the first glimpse of 2012 totals. U.S. cow numbers averaged 9.231 million head for the year, up 37,000 head from 2011. Milk output per cow averaged 21,697 lbs., a 352-lb. gain from 2011. 

 

Major state cow numbers averaged 8.499 million head in 2012, 50,000 more than 2011. Output per cow averaged 21,958 lbs. in 2012, 331 lbs. more than 2011.

 

U.S. milk production reached 200.28 billion lbs. in 2012, up 2.1% from 2011. Major dairy state production was estimated at 186.62 billion lbs., also up 2.1% from the year before. Final 2012 estimates will be included in USDA’s February Milk Production report.

 

Cow numbers: Individual states

Among the 23 major dairy states, eight increased cow numbers in December compared to a month earlier, led by Arizona (+5,000); and Kansas & Texas (+3,000 each). Only New Mexico (-2,000), California and Wisconsin (-1,000 each) posted declines.

 

Compared to 2011, 2012 cow numbers declined in only five states, led by New Mexico (-13,000), Arizona (-6,000), and Pennsylvania (-5,000). Largest year-to-year gains were in Kansas (+8,000), Michigan (+7,000), Wisconsin (+5,000) and Colorado (+4,000).

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