Latest figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that February milk production in the US up 1.7%.

Milk production in the US during February totalled 16.2 billion pounds (7.3 billion litres), up 1.7% from February 2014.

Production per cow in the United States averaged 1,736lbs (787 litres) for February, 9lbs (4L) above February 2014.

The USDA figures also show that the number of milking cows on farms in the US was 9.31m head, 100,000 head more than February 2014, and 3,000 head more than January 2015.

The USDA figures show that 16 states in the US saw increases in cow numbers compared to a year ago. The largest increases were seen in Texas (+23,000); Michigan (+22,000); Idaho (+13,000); and Washington (+8,000). Only two states – California (-2,000) and Pennsylvania (-1,000) posted declines in cow numbers.

In a recent update on the global dairy market the IFA said that the US was the exception to the global rule of slower growth or decrease. It said this was due to much of US production being protected by margin insurance schemes and low costs.

Even so, the IFA said US spot prices are falling rapidly, California is suffering from continuous drought, and there are reports of increased culling (up 7%) which may augur slower growth over the coming months. See also: Why Fonterra’s latest GDT auction dipped almost 9%