Dairy Skim – November 2023 US Milk Production Report

Dairy Skim is a bite-size episode series where HighGround’s top analysts break down the latest dairy data release. Today, Betty Berning discusses the November 2023 US Milk Production Report. Customers can view the snapshot report here. Subscribe so that you never miss an episode!

Subscribe on Spotify | Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Subscribe on Amazon Music


[00:04] Betty: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Dairy Skim, HighGround Dairy’s bite-sized podcast intended to give the dairy industry some flavor into recent reports or events that can impact global commodity pricing. Today you are joined by Betty Berning, HighGround’s Contributing Dairy Economist. We had a great webinar over the noon hour Central time, and the team is back to analyzing. USDA released November’s Milk Production Report this afternoon and I am going to give you a rundown.

[00:39] In November, US milk production moved 0.6% lower year-over-year, bullish to our expectations, weighing in at nearly 18.1 billion pounds. Cow numbers moved down month-over-month by 10,000 head to 9.36 million, and milk per cow totaled 1,932 pounds. That’s down two pounds from November 2022. However, that was the highest November on record by 14 pounds so pretty tough comparison. Slaughter has slowed considerably this fall, but cows continue to exit the herd.

[01:22] Looking further into the data, we see a massive—over 10%—year-on-year loss in milk volumes in New Mexico. Milk flows totaled 497 million pounds there and this is the first time since 2001 that milk production in New Mexico has fallen below 500 million pounds. It’s not a total surprise—we’ve been seeing the milk volumes and milk cows out of New Mexico fall this year, but the big decrease, again, is due to a shrinking herd there. From October to November, cow numbers fell by 5,000 head and compared to November 2022, the herd is down 27,000 cows. Other states in November that had declining cow numbers on a month-over-month basis included Washington, Indiana, and Florida.

[02:15] In the other 20 of the major 24 dairy-reporting states, there was no month-on-month change to the dairy herd.

[02:25] Other notable items in the Milk Production Report included decreased milk production in California (down 1.7% year-over-year) but not as bad as October’s year-over-year losses or some of the declines over the summer, and November up from a month ago. Diving into that a little deeper, from October to November, milk production increased 37 pounds per cow, which is more than the 5-year average of a 23-pound increase. We saw something similar in Idaho, where milk production had been faltering as of late, in September and October and was down year-over-year after really strong growth during the first six months of this year. 03:05 In November, Idaho returned to growth, up 0.3%, and this was really due to better yields. Milk per cow dropped there from October to November (that’s normal), but this year, the decrease was not as severe as the five-year average and that really helped to bolster that milk production.

[03:29] In the second biggest dairy state, Wisconsin, milk production was up versus prior year by 0.2%, but that is actually the smallest year-over gain in 2023 in the state. Further, milk per cow dropped from October and again, that is typical, but the decrease of 17 pounds was actually quite a bit larger than the five-year mean of a 10-pound loss between those two months. 03:54 Similar story in New York: smaller growth in year-over-year milk production—still growing, just at a decelerated rate—but a sizable drop in yields from October to November, deeper than the 2018-2022 averages. Texas’ yields dropped 30 pounds from October to November when we adjusted to a 30-day basis and is actually quite sizable. When I dug back in the data set to 1980, it was the largest on record between those two months in Texas.

Lots of details there but more to come on this. Watch your inbox for the complete analysis and I will be talking to all of you again on Friday afternoon to break down the November Cold Storage report. Take care and have a good night!

Be sure to subscribe so that you never miss an episode. And if you’re interested in receiving more information, as well as our analysis, please visit highgrounddairy.com to request a free 30-day trial today. Futures and options trading involves substantial risk and is not suitable for all investors.