October 2012 milk output down slightly

October 2012 U.S. milk production was down just 0.1% compared to a year ago, according to USDA’s October milk production report.

Nationally, October milk production was estimated at 16.26 billion lbs., compared to 16.28 billion lbs. in October 2011. October 2012 cow numbers, at 9.187 million, were down 9,000 from September 2012, and 25,000 less than October 2011. Cow numbers have declined about 84,000 head since peaking at 9.271 million in April 2012. U.S. October milk per cow was estimated at 1,769 lbs., up just 2 lbs. from October 2011.

October 2012 milk production in the 23 major states totaled 15.17 billion lbs., virtually unchanged from October 2011. September 2012 revised production, at 14.65 billion lbs., was down 0.6% from September 2011. The September revision represented a decrease of 19 million lbs. (0.1%) from last month's preliminary production estimate. 

October 2012 cow numbers in the 23 major states were estimated at 8.47 million head, 8,000 head less than September 2012, and 10,000 head less than October 2011. 

Compared to September, October declines in cow numbers are largest in Idaho and Texas (each -3,000), followed by New Mexico (-2,000). Arizona and California each lost 1,000 cows from the month before. Only Iowa (+2,000) had an increase in cow numbers; all others were unchanged compared to the previous month.

Compared to October 2011, October 2012 declines in cow numbers were largest in Arizona (-12,000) New Mexico (-8,000) and Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington (-5,000 each). 

Compared to a year earlier, largest increases in cow numbers were in Wisconsin (7,000) and Michigan (5,000). Colorado and Iowa (+4,000 each), Florida and Kansas (+3,000 each), California, Illinois, Ohio (+2,000 each), and Oregon and Utah (+1,000 each) also posted gains.

Production per cow in the 23 major states averaged 1,791 lbs. for October, just 1 lb. more than October 2011.