Wisconsin dairy farmers and their cows compiled another set of new records in milk production for 2012. The numbers were published late last week by the Wisconsin field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The bottom line statistics record was the state's production of 27.224 billion pounds of milk in 2012. This was an increase of four percent from the 26.117 billion pounds in 2011.
Another record-setting performance was the average of 21,436 pounds of milk during 2012 - up from 20,646 pounds - for each of Wisconsin's approximately 1.27 million dairy cows. This was 5,000 more cows than during 2011.
The per cow milk production averages for 2012 stood well above the state average in numerous east central, south central, and southeastern counties. Most counties in the west, north, and central parts of the state had per cow milk production averages below that of the overall state average.
For individual counties, Brown County jumped to the top with an increase of 1,100 pounds of milk per cow for an average of 25,700 pounds during 2012. The county's cow numbers increased to 43,500 from 42,000 in 2011.
Outagamie County's 38,000 dairy cows posted an average of 25,300 pounds of milk production during 2012 - an increase of 1,300 pounds from 2011. In Calumet County, the 29,500 cows increased their production by 1,200 pounds for an average of 25,100 pounds during 2012.
Manitowoc County, which had held the top spot among the counties for average milk per cow for several years, had an increase of 100 pounds per cow during 2012 for a year's average of 25,000 pounds. Its dairy cow numbers held steady at 51,000.
Other counties with an average milk per cow with more than or close to 3,000 pounds above the state average during 2012 were Dane, Kewaunee, and Walworth counties with 24,500 pounds each, Sheboygan County at 24,400 pounds, and Ozaukee County at 24,200 pounds.
Dane County had a 1,400-pound average increase in milk per cow from 2011-12.
One county ranking that did not change during 2012 was that neighboring Clark and Marathon counties in central Wisconsin were the top two in total milk production for the year.
Clark County posted a total of 1.360 billion pounds of milk from its 67,000 dairy cows while Marathon County came in with 1.287 billion pounds of milk with its 65,000 cows.
Those are also the two highest cow numbers for any counties in the state.
For total milk production, Fond du Lac County moved into third place among the state's counties with 1.298 billion pounds from its 55,000 cows in 2012.
Manitowoc County slipped for fourth place with 1.275 billion pounds while Dane County trailed narrowly with 1.274 billion pounds from its 52,000 cows.
Other counties with more than one billion pounds of milk production in 2012 were Brown at nearly 1.118 billion pounds and Kewaunee at 1.029 billion pounds.
In this annual report, the Wisconsin field office of NASS cautions that the per county milk cow and production numbers are not official statistics or estimates.
It points out that the numbers are provided to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection as part of a cooperative agreement.