Growth in output has not been uniform across the country. Milk production in the Western States is generally constrained with the majority of the growth coming from elsewhere. In volume terms the majority of the growth in the past quarter has come out of the states of Wisconsin, New York, Kansas and Michigan. On the other hand California stands out as the one state where production is really struggling, with milk supplies down 0.6% in the latest quarter. California produces more milk than any other state in the US, and therefore has a significant impact on total production.
Milk supplies in California continue to be hampered by the hot and dry conditions prevailent. 93% of the state is considered to be in severe drought as reported by the USDA in their regular Drought Monitor report.
The states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona have all received rain in the past week but California was not so lucky.
The hot dry weather has a direct impact on milk production as heat stressed cows produce considerably less milk. Many modern cow barns are fitted with fans and misting devices designed to keep cows cool, but it is still hard to counteract the impact of very high temperatures.
In very hot conditions cows eat less which impacts on the milk production components, that is the fat and protein content of their milk. Milk volumes are also negatively impacted in heat stressed cattle.
Temperatures in California typically reach their seasonal high during the month of July. This July daily temperatures have typically been 15° – 20°F higher than normal. These elevated temperatures are forecast to continue throughout the rest of July and into August.
In June parts of California reached record temperatures.