Milk production in the top 23 dairy states dropped by 3.4 percent in February (although adjusted for leap year, it was actually a 0.1 percent increase).

Dave Kurzawski, dairy analyst for FC Stone in Chicago, called Tuesday’s “Milk Production” report from the USDA “bullish.”

 “The milk production figures came in below expectations,” he said. The 0.1 increase (adjusted for leap year) was smaller than the 0.3 percent to 1 percent growth rate that many traders had anticipated.  

Although the Upper Midwest states posted gains, colder weather during February and poorer quality feed combined to weaken the milk-per-cow figures there, according to Kurzawski. Milk production was already in decline throughout the West.

The number of dairy cows in the top 23 states was down 13,000 head from February 2012.

Read the report here.

The February report will be the last Milk Production report issued by the USDA until October. The USDA suspended this report and several others in the wake of automatic federal budget cuts. Click here to read more.