US milk production fell 0.5% YOY in March according to the USDA, the slowest rate of contraction in five months. USDA said they estimated the national herd grew 15,000 head from February, while its revised February count the herd also grew 13,000 head in that month. Despite these additions, the herd remained 0.9% smaller YOY. The strongest contributions in YOY milk growth came from Texas and South Dakota, while New Mexico and the two upper mid-west states of Michigan and Minnesota had the biggest falls.
The March increase in cow numbers mostly occurred in Texas (where the herd is up 3.6% YOY and New Mexico where the herd is in partial recovery after a big drop in numbers in 2021. National per-cow yields were 0.4% higher YOY as rising milk prices has given some the incentive to chase marginal cashflow. Texas also posted the biggest improvement in that measure. The yield gains are small and inconsistent however and it is far too early to call a turnaround in productivity with strong cost pressure offering as feed costs continue to rise.