U.S. milk production continues to limp. The Agriculture Department’s latest Milk Production report show preliminary June output at 18.23 billion pounds, down 0.3 percent from June 2018. Output in the 24 top producing states hit 17.3 billion pounds, up 0.1 percent. Revisions added 9 million pounds to the original May total, now put at 19.06 billion pounds, down 0.4 percent from May 2018.

June cow numbers in the 50 states totaled 9.32 million head, down 10,000 from May and 91,000 head below a year ago. Output per cow averaged 1,955 pounds, up 12 pounds from a year ago.

Milk output in the April to June quarter was down 0.1 percent from a year ago. The average number of milk cows was down 15,000 head from the January to March quarter and 89,000 less than the April to June quarter a year ago.

California cows produced 1.2 percent more milk than a year ago, thanks to a 30 pound gain per cow offsetting the loss of 7,000 cows. Wisconsin output was down 0.5 percent, on 6,000 fewer cows. Output per cow was unchanged.

Idaho was up 2.0 percent on 9,000 more cows and a 10 pound gain per cow. New York was up 0.2 percent, thanks to 4,000 additional cows however output per cow was down 10 pounds. Pennsylvania saw its 16th consecutive month that milk output was below a year ago, down 58 million pounds or 6.5 percent, due to 31,000 fewer cows milked and 10 pounds less per cow. Minnesota was up 0.8 percent, despite a drop of 6,000 cows. Output per cow was up 40 pounds.

Michigan was up 2.2 percent on a 40 pound gain per cow and 2,000 more cows. New Mexico was down 2.8 percent, on 11,000 fewer cows. Output per cow was up 10 pounds. Texas was up 5.6 percent on 29,000 more cows and a 5 pound gain per cow.

Vermont was off 0.4 percent. Cow numbers were down 1,000 but output cow was up 10 pounds. Florida was down 3.0 percent, on 5,000 fewer cows. Output per cow was up 20 pounds. Washington State was off 0.5 percent, on 6,000 fewer cows. Output per cow was unchanged from a year ago.

Meanwhile; the USDA’s semiannual cattle report issued July 19, 2019 shows milk cows numbered 9.30 million head on July 1, down 100,000 or 1 percent from 2018. Milk cow replacement heifers, at 4.1 million head, were down 100,000 or 2 percent from a year ago. USDA may revise the cow numbers in its June Milk Production report.

The July 19 Daily Dairy Report says “This is the first time the heifer replacement inventory has fallen since 2012 and only the fourth time it has dropped over the past two decades. The last time replacements were at this level was 2014.”

The DDR adds that “Typically farms look to bring heifers into the milking herd at around 24-months of age. The heifer inventory provides a glimpse into future investment in the dairy herd, and today both the existing milk herd and the animals available to move into the milking herd are on the decline.”

U.S. butter stocks grew in June but were still below those a year ago, according to the USDA’s latest Cold Storage report. The butter inventory climbed to a surprising 327.76 million pounds, up 13.9 million or 4.4 percent from May but were 8.9 million or 2.6 percent below June 2018.

Total cheese stocks slipped to 1.381 billion pounds, down 7.1 million pounds or 0.5 percent from May and 7.1 million or 0.5 percent below those in June 2018.

American stocks totaled 784.95 million pounds, down 2.3 million pounds, down 0.3 percent from May, and 15.4 million or 1.9 percent below a year ago.

Stocks in the other cheese slipped to 569.2 million pounds, down 7.4 million pounds or 0.8 percent from May but were up 12.2 million or 2.2 percent from a year ago.

HighGround Dairy points out; “For the second consecutive month, and against historical expectations, U.S. total cheese stocks continued to move lower into June, marking the first time on record from the USDA that both May and June experienced a draw down in cheese stocks.”

HGD adds that “Fat shortages are being fulfilled by strong imports, a trend that is not expected to slow, tempering prices nearby ahead of the holiday demand spike.”

In politics, farmers, ranchers, producers and growers representing various California food and agriculture products flew into Washington Wednesday lobby members of Congress for swift passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“California food and ag is coming to Washington to make a strong appeal to our elected representatives for swift passage of the USMCA,” said Jamie Johansson, president, California Farm Bureau Federation. “With our livelihoods at stake due to uncertainty in export markets and an unclear path for USMCA in Congress, it is essential that we appeal directly to each member of the California delegation. We will ask them to share our message with Speaker Pelosi: ‘Please pass USMCA now — our livelihoods depend on it.’”

California is the nation’s largest producer and exporter of food and agricultural products. In 2018, California ag exports to Canada and Mexico totaled $6.6 billion. Food and ag exports to Canada and Mexico supported more than 56,000 jobs in California last year. More than 77,500 farms produce more than 400 commodities, and about one-quarter of what California produces is exported around the world. Agricultural exports from California are valued at nearly $21 billion.