For the first time in 31 months, milk production is down on a year-over-year basis.

In August, milk production in the top 23 dairy states declined by 0.2 percent compared to the same month a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on Sept. 19.

Average production per cow was down 10 pounds in August.

Dave Kurzawski, dairy analyst with FCStone/Downes-O’Neill in Chicago, called the report “slightly bearish” relative to expectations.

The number of milk cows in the 23 major states was up 32,000 head from August 2011, but 4,000 fewer than July.

California’s milk production was down 5.8 percent compared to August 2011. Wisconsin, the secondleading milk-producing state, was up 4.9 percent.

Economic Indicators: Milk production down in August