Farm milk prices remain well below the cost of production, slaughter numbers are up, and so is the thermometer and that combination slowed U.S. milk output in July. The Agriculture Department’s latest Milk Production report shows dairy farms in the top 23 states milked 17.3 billion pounds, up just 0.4 percent from July 2017, still the 56th consecutive month output bested that of a year ago. Revisions added another 40 million pounds to the original June estimate, now put at 17.2 billion pounds, 1.6 percent above a year ago. The 50-state July milk total, at 18.4 billion pounds, was also up a bullish 0.4 percent.
July cow numbers totaled 8.74 million head in the 23 states, up 1,000 head from June but 8,000 less than a year ago. The 50-state total, at 9.4 million, was down 8,000 head from June and a year ago, first-time cow numbers were below a year ago since May 2016. Output per cow averaged 1,980 pounds in the 23 states, up just 8 pounds from a year ago.
California output was down 2.5 percent as the heat took a toll on output per cow by 35 pounds and 12,000 fewer cows were milked from a year ago. Wisconsin was up 1.2 percent on a 30 pound gain per cow but 4,000 fewer cows were milked.
Idaho inched up 0.8 percent, thanks to 6,000 more cows offsetting a drop of 5 pounds per cow. New York was up 0.6 percent, on 20 pound gain per cow outweighing the loss of 2,000 cows. Pennsylvania was off 0.7 percent on 5,000 fewer cows but output per cow was up 5 pounds. Minnesota was down 0.2 percent, on a 20-pound loss per cow and 6,000 fewer cows.
Michigan was down 0.9 percent, on 4,000 fewer cows. Output per cow was unchanged. New Mexico was down 0.8 percent, on a 10 pound per cow gain outweighing the 4,000 fewer cows milked. Texas continues to roar, up 7.3 percent, thanks to an 85 pound gain per cow and 15,000 more cows. Vermont was off down 3.0 percent, on a 15-pound loss per cow and 3,000 fewer cows were milked. Washington State was up 1.8 percent on a 20 pound gain per cow and 2,000 additional cows milked. COURTESY: Lee Mielke of the MIELKE MARKET WEEKLY