June milk production in the 23 major states of the US was up 1.6% on June 2015 levels with 16.7 billion pounds of milk being produced last month, the latest figures from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) show.

Milk production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,926 pounds for June, which the USDA has said is 26 pounds above June 2015.

This latest milk production per cow figure is the highest production per cow for the month of June since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The USDA reports that the number of dairy cows on farms in the 23 major States was 8.65m head, which is 17,000 head more than June 2015, and 3,000 head more than May 2016.

Meanwhile, milk production in the US during the April - June quarter totalled 54.4 billion pounds, up 1.2% from the April - June quarter in 2015.

The average number of dairy cows in the US during the quarter was 9.33 million head, 8,000 head more than the January - March quarter, and 6,000 head more than the same period last year.

US dairy outlook for 2016 and 2017

Based on recent data, the latest USDA forecast for dairy cow numbers in the US for the second and third quarter of 2016 has been lowered by 10,000 head.

The 2016 forecast of milk per cow is unchanged from last month. As a result of the lower expected cow numbers, the milk production forecast for 2016 is 212.4 billion pounds, a reduction of 0.2 billion pounds.

Meanwhile, for 2017, the USDA has forecast for dairy cow numbers to increase by 15,000 cows for 2017 to 9.335m.

According to the USDA, the higher forecasts are due to higher forecasts for milk prices and lower forecasts for feed prices.

Milk output per cow is unchanged for 2017, at 23,095 pounds for the year. Total production is forecast at 215.6 billion pounds, 0.3 billion pounds higher than last month, and an increase of 1.5% from 2016.