The U.S. Dairy Situation and Outlook for 1990

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USDA has recently revised its estimates of milk production from 1983-1987 based on the 1987 agricultural census. This also resulted in changes in the 1988 and 1989 estimates. Some of the changes, particularly in cow numbers and production per cow, were quite substantial. All calculations and data reported in this publication use these latest revisions. As in the saying, milk production in 1989 began with a bang and ended with a whimper. Cow numbers were consistently down through the year, averaging a decline of 1.3%. Decreases were slightly greater in the second quarter and slightly less in the fourth quarter. Production per cow, and consequently total production, began strong and slowed substantially in succeeding months. Milk production per cow in 1989 began with a substantial year to year increase, but by July, production per cow fell below 1988 levels. For the year, production per cow increased by an average of 99 pounds per cow, or .7% higher. When this is adjusted for the fact that 1988 was a leap year, the gain becomes about 1.0% on a daily average basis. This is less than half the normal annual gain. Milk production for the year is estimated to be about 0.6% less than 1988, as shown in Table 1. If one adjusts for the fact that 1988 was a leap year, the estimated decrease becomes 0.3% on a daily average basis. (Unless otherwise indicated, all percentage changes in quantities reported herein are calculated on a daily average basis.)
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A.E. Ext. 90-07
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Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
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