With Brown County edging to the top, counties in east central Wisconsin continued to post the highest milk production averages per cow in 2012. Four of the nine counties in that statistical district had per cow averages of at least 25,000 pounds of milk during the year.
Those statistics are printed in the 2013 Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics booklet, which was released and distributed in December. They come with a caveat that they are estimates, not official National Agricultural Statistics Service data, which are provided to fulfill a cooperative agreement with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
The published statistics indicate the Brown County's 43,500 dairy cows produced an average of 25,700 pounds of milk during 2012 — an increase of 1,100 pounds from 2011. This enabled Brown County to overtake Manitowoc County, where the per cow increase for 51,000 cows during 2012 was only 100 pounds for an average of 25,000 pounds or fourth place among the counties in the state.
With an average increase of 1,300 pounds of milk for its 38,000 cows in 2012, Outagamie County moved into second place with an average of 25,300 pounds per cow. Calumet County's 29,500 cows added an average of 1,300 pounds to their production during 2012 for a year's average of 25,100 pounds.
Three other counties posted an average of 24,500 pounds of milk per cow in 2012. They are Kewaunee, Dane, and Walworth. Sheboygan County had an average of 24,400 pounds per cow in 2012.
With its 67,000 dairy cows producing an average of 20,300 pounds of milk during the year, Clark County continued to be Wisconsin's top milk production county with 1.36 billion pounds for 2012. Fond du Lac County nudged out Marathon County for second place among the state's counties with 1.298 billion pounds.
Marathon County had the state's second highest total of 65,000 dairy cows and stood in third place in 2012 with its milk production of 1.287 billion pounds. Other top milk producing counties in 2012 were Manitowoc with 1.275 billion pounds, Dane with 1.274 billion pounds, Brown with nearly 1.118 billion pounds, and Kewaunee with 1.029 billion pounds.
Wisconsin's milk production of 27.224 billion pounds in 2012 was a state record high. So was the average of 21,436 pounds of milk for the state's average of 1.27 million milk cows for the year. Although the December statistics are yet to be reported, it is very likely that the state set total milk production and average milk per cow records again in 2013.
The agricultural statistics booklet also provides numerous other categories of data pertaining to milk production and the dairy sector for 2012. They include milk production costs and returns (a negative $7.64 per hundred of milk when total costs are calculated), milk hauling charges by county (for May 2012), and Dairy Herd Improvement (DHI) Cooperative data for production averages by dairy breed and milk component averages for the state's top 10 milk production counties.
According to the report, there were 2,813 dairy herds on official DHI production testing in 2012 and another 1,681 on non-official testing. The highest herd totals by county for DHI testing were 218 in Clark, 203 in Marathon, 168 in Grant, 167 in Dane, 162 in Dodge, 145 in Manitowoc, and 121 in Fond du Lac County.
During 2012, Wisconsin dairy farmers received an average of $19.40 per hundred for the milk they sold (down from $20.30 in 2011). The milk had an average butterfat content of 3.74 percent. Milk cow prices ranged from $1,460-$1,560 per head during the year.
Other statistics for Wisconsin in 2012 were an average of 118 milk cows per farm, 11.25 percent of the dairy herds being milked more than twice a day, 22.07 percent of the cows being injected with bovine somatotropin, and 3.84 percent of the state's milk production going to the organic market.
The booklet also contains some dairy sector statistics updated with 2013 numbers. Wisconsin started the year with 11,155 milk cow herds licensed to ship to the commercial market. By Oct. 1, that number had dropped to 10,655. Since January of 2010, that was a decrease of 2,264 herds.
Licensed dairy herd totals per county as of April 1 were also included. The top five counties were Clark with 921 herds, Marathon with 659, Grant with 427, Vernon with 411, and Chippewa with 348. Those five counties account for 26 percent of Wisconsin's dairy herds.
The Wisconsin 2013 Agricultural Statistics booklets cost $10 apiece. To obtain a copy, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-224-4848.
The booklet notes that the results of the Census of Agriculture taken in 2012 are due to be published in 2014.