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News Dairy

US milk supply decreases for third consecutive month

June 24, 2024 - Alex Jurvillier

Once again, the American milk supply has decreased. Production in May was below last year's level for the third consecutive month, according to the latest report from the US Department of Agriculture USDA.

It is not yet clear whether the decline in milk supply is related to the prevailing avian influenza virus H5N1. The virus is currently circulating among dairy and poultry in America. Sick cows produce less milk. The American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports daily on the progress of the virus. So far, dairy cows have been infected in twelve American states. In the last thirty days, the states of Idaho and Colorado were most affected with seventeen and fourteen infected dairy herds, respectively. In total, according to the USDA, infections have been found in 118 dairy herds.

It is possible that the May production was somewhat affected by the relatively weak seasonal production peak. Mid-May, the USDA reported that it was already stabilizing. According to market experts, this year's production peak was weaker than usual.

Of the 24 largest American dairy states, milk supply in May was about 8.56 million tons, which is approximately 0.7% lower than the same month in 2023. In May 2023, milk production was 8.62 million tons, which was 0.7% higher than May 2022 (8.56 million tons). This brings the milk supply of May 2024 back to almost the same level as May 2022.

The milk supply in the 24 largest dairy states from January to May 2024 was 41.63 million tons, a minimal increase of 0.02% compared to the same period in 2023 (41.62 million tons). The difference between 2023 and 2022 is slightly larger, as 2023 ended up 0.9% higher than 2022 with 41.26 million tons in the same period.

With the prevailing HN51 avian influenza virus in America, it may now be extra important to look at the trend of milk production per cow. The production per cow in the 24 largest dairy states was 962.52 kilograms in May, 1.36 kilograms below the level of May last year. Except for January, the milk production per cow in the months before May was higher than last year.

Compared to April, the number of dairy cows in May 2024 increased by 5,000 cows. This brings the total number of cows to 8.89 million. However, there is a noticeable decrease compared to May last year, of 52,000 cows.

Alex Jurvillier

Alex Jurvillier is a market specialist in sugar and cacao at DCA Market Intelligence. He also monitors the milk supply in the most important dairy countries and keeps an eye on developments in food.
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