US milk production continues to increase, with the latest figures from the USDA showing that milk production increased 2.3% in September on the corresponding month last year.

Milk production in the 23 major States during September totalled 16.0 billion pounds.

Production per cow also increased, with the 23 major States averaging 1,842lbs for September, 35lbs above September 2015.

The number of dairy cows on farms in the 23 major States stood at 8.67m head, 36,000 head more than September 2015, but 2,000 head less than August 2016, the figures show.

Meanwhile, the US milk production forecast for the fourth quarter of 2016 is 52.6 billion pounds, 0.3 billion pounds higher than last month’s USDA forecast.

Due to recent gains in dairy cow numbers, expansion of dairy manufacturing facilities, higher milk-feed ratios, and weakness in cull-cow prices, the USDA has increased it's predicted number of dairy cows for the second half of the year.

With the USDA expecting dairy cows numbers to hit 9.360m and 9.380m in the third and fourth quarters, the US dairy herd is on course to be the largest it has been in 20 years.

The 2017 forecast for dairy cows has been raised to 9.395m head and expansion of the dairy herd is expected to continue into the second quarter of 2017.

Dairy cow numbers are then expected to stabilise thereafter due to relatively low milk prices toward the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.

While US milk production increased in September, production has slowed in the other major milk producing countries.

The latest figures from Australia show that milk production fell 9.3% in August compared to the same month in 2015 while in New Zealand milk production fell 2.7% for the same month.

In the EU, Milk Market Observatory figures show that July production fell 1.4% on July 2015.