Milk production continues to climb despite fewer cows

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer

Despite fewer dairy cows, state milk production continues to climb.

Employees milk the herd of 900 cows in the milking parlor at Brickstead Farm.

According to USDA’s release of the September production report, milk production in Wisconsin during September 2018 totaled 2.51 billion pounds, up 2 percent from the previous September.

The national picture is similar. Across the U.S., dairy cows produced 16.4 billion pounds of milk, up 1.5 percent from September 2017. August’s revised production at 17.2 billion pounds, was up 1.3 percent from August 2017. The August revision represents a decrease of 10 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate.

While milk production per cow continues to climb, the number of cows on farms across the U.S. is falling.

The growth production per cow in Wisconsin averaged 1,975 pounds, up 45 pounds from September 2017

The number of dairy cows on farms across the U.S. was recorded at 8.72 million, 13,000 less than in September 2017, and 12,000 head less than the revised cattle numbers on the August 2018 production report. The average number of milk cows on Wisconsin farms during September, at 1.27 million head, was down 1,000 from last month and down 4,000 from last year.

The increase is attributed to the growth production per cow which averaged 1,975 pounds, up 45 pounds from September 2017. Nationally, production per cow averaged 1,880 pounds for September, 30 pounds above September 2017. This is the highest production per cow for the month of September since the 23 State series began in 2003.