With 28 days in February, the milk production report was obviously going to differ from previous months.
February Milk Production Report Shows Lackluster Numbers
With 28 days in February, the milk production report was obviously going to differ from previous months. Comparing a leap year versus a non-leap year in 2023, February milk production was up 2.4%. However, on a per-day basis, production was down 1.1%. (Farm Journal)

Comparing a leap year versus a non-leap year in 2023, February milk production was up 2.4%. However, on a per-day basis, production was down 1.1%. Milk cows totaled 9.3 million head, 10,000 more than in January 2024, but down 89,000 compared to a year ago.

Several states showed a steep decline, including New Mexico, which lost 97 million lbs. of milk with 42,000 fewer cows. Other states showing a decline included:

  • Texas was down, 56 million lbs. and 15,000 cows.
  • Idaho dropped 29 million lbs. and 1,000 cows.
  • Oregon was down 19 million lbs.
  • Minnesota dropped 18 million lbs.

According to Phil Plourd, president of Ever.Ag Insight, this report had no real big surprises.

“We expect variations of the same going forward,” he says. “It’s hard to imagine milk production making material improvements with cow numbers down 89,000 head year-over-year, heifers in short supply and rough economics in several regions.”

Not surprisingly, South Dakota led the way with a positive reflection year-over-year with 40 million additional lbs. and 21,00 cows. Other states with growth include:

Florida added 21 million pounds and 9,000 cows.

  • Wisconsin was up 12 million pounds.
  • California added 7 million pounds despite losing 9,000 cows. Production per cow improved by 15 pounds.

Dan Basse, an economist with AgResource Company, doesn’t think heifer replacement numbers are going to change anytime soon, keeping cow numbers tight.

“I’m still amazed at that cross calf that sells at $700 or $800 and $300 for a Holstein bull calf,” he says, explaining that heifer numbers are going to stay low, especially with strong cull and beef prices sticking around.

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