For the first time, milk production in the United States has topped 200 billion pounds in a calendar year.
The monthly report for December issued on Wednesday afternoon of this week noted that the nation's total for 2012 was 200.284 billion pounds - up by 2.1 percent from 2011.
For December, milk production in the top 23 states increased by 1.7 percent compared to December of 2011, according to the report by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. It also indicated an upward revision of 31 million pounds for November, upping that month's increase to 1.3 percent compared to the previously stated 1.1 percent.
Among the individual states in the December comparisons, Wisconsin and California continued on their recent trends.
With a 5.5-percent increase for December, Wisconsin posted a record high production for any month ever of 2.343 billion pounds while California slipped by 2.3 percent to 3.416 billion pounds for December.
Unofficially, Wisconsin had a record total milk production of 27.23 billion pounds during 2012. This would be an increase of 1.113 billion pounds or just over 4.2 percent more than in 2011.
Average milk per cow helped to push Wisconsin to its record production for December.
Compared to a year ago, cow numbers were up by 5,000 to 1.27 million while the average milk per cow in the state jumped by 90 pounds to an average of 1,845 pounds in December of 2012.
In addition to California, only four other states among the top 23 - Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas - recorded a December to December milk production decrease in the preliminary report for the month. All of their decreases were at less than one percent.
Michigan matched Wisconsin with a 5.5-percent increase to 762 million pounds, Minnesota was up by 4.4 percent to 786 million pounds, New York added 4.2-percent to 1.116 billion pounds, and Idaho was up by 1 percent to 1.119 billion pounds.
States with lower milk production totals but with significant percentage increases for the December comparisons were Kansas at 10, Colorado at 6.3, Indiana at 4.6, and Ohio at 3.9 percent.
Average milk per cow in the top 23 states was 1,848 pounds - up by 30 pounds from a year earlier.
Just as in Wisconsin, the cow numbers in those states were up by 5,000 head to 8.49 million. Among those states, the greatest December to December change was an addition of 8,000 cows in Kansas while Michigan added 7,000.
In the spot market for dairy commodities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, prices slipped again for the period through Wednesday of this week.
Except for an uncovered offer to sell one carload of Cheddar barrel cheese, there was no activity in the spot market for cheese on Wednesday, leaving the closing prices at $1.66 per pound for Cheddar blocks and $1.60 for barrels - down by 4 and 6.5-cents respectively from a week earlier.
The AA butter spot market was active on Wednesday with three carload sales, an unfilled bid to buy two carloads, and an uncovered offer to sell one carload.
The price stayed at $1.5050 per pound throughout the trading session for AA butter as well as at $1.56 and $1.53 per pound, respectively, for Grade Extra and Grade A non-fat dry milk.
There has also been little price movement lately in the futures market for dry whey. Near the end of the trading day on Wednesday, the prices stood at 62.25 cents per pound for January and at between 59 and 54.025 cents per pound for the remaining months of 2013.
The Class III milk futures market was mixed on Wednesday of this week with no month during 2013 having a change of more than nine cents per hundred.
Prices near the end of the trading session dropped gradually from the $18.12 per hundred for January to $17.21 for February and $16.93 for March before rebounding into the $18s per hundred for final three quarters of 2013.
The national Class I fluid milk base price for February is $18.21 per hundred.
This is a decrease of 67 cents from January.
Earlier this week, Cooperatives Working Together announced the acceptance of a batch of 19 bids from Dairy Farmers of America, Foremost Farms, Darigold Cooperative, United Dairymen of Arizona, the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative, Upstate Niagara O-AT-KA, and the Michigan Milk Producers Association.
The bids were for financial assistance on the export of 3.814 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and 2.423 million pounds of butter to countries in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
The deliveries are scheduled from January to June.