Recent reports indicate that dairy herd, stocks of various dairy products, and milk production are all at or near peak levels. Last week’s milk production report started by revising the March herd size up to 9.474 million, adding a further 16,000 head and bringing the U.S. total just shy of 9.5 million heifers.
National milk output was nearly 19.3 billion lbs, bringing the cumulative total up 1.7 percent YTD. For April alone, milk output was up a higher-than-expected 3.3 percent, clearly a function of both better yields per cow—67.8 lbs milk per cow per day, a new record–and of a larger herd. This trend will likely continue for several months.
The country now has a larger herd and higher yields than ever before, and this should translate into more price weakness than previously seen for this market. Seasonally cool spring temperatures in April led to a late flush, improving cow comfort and contributing to the record herd yield.