US milk production in March was up 1.8% from the corresponding month last year, the latest figures from the US Department of Agriculture show.

The latest USDA Dairy Outlook attributes the increase to relatively low prices for corn, soybean meal and alfalfa hay. 

Milk production in the 23 major States during March totalled 17.2 billion pounds, which is an increase of 1.8% from March 2015.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,993lbs (879.7L) for March, 31lbs above March 2015.

According to the USDA, this is the highest production per cow for the month of March since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of dairy cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.64m head, some 19,000 head more than March 2015, and 9,000 head more than February 2016, the figures show.

Meanwhile, January to March milk production in the US was up 2.1% on the corresponding period last year.

Milk production in the US during the January to March quarter stood at 53.0 billion pounds.

The average number of dairy cows in the US during the quarter was 9.32m head, which USDA figures show is 5,000 head less than the October to December 2015 quarter. However, it is 7,000 head more than the same period last year.

The increase in milk production in recent months in the US can be attributed to relatively low prices for corn, soybean meal and alfalfa hay creating favourable conditions for a production increase, the latest USDA Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook suggests.

For the remainder of 2016, the USDA outlook has forecast for feed prices to continue to remain relatively low.

US milk production forecasts have been raised to 211.8 billion pounds for 2016, an increase of 0.2 billion pounds from last month’s USDA forecast.

The 2016 forecast for dairy cows is 9.310m head, 5,000 more than was forecast in the last USDA outlook report.

Milk per cow has also been raised to 22,755lbs per head, 10lbs more than forecast last month.