The decline in milk production brought on by this year’s drought and high feed cost continues to gain momentum.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk production in the United States dropped 0.5 percent in September.

Average production per cow was down 7 pounds across the U.S. compared to September 2011.

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

It’s difficult to call a negative milk production figure for the country 'slightly bearish,' as such a rare occurrence is normally met with generally higher dairy product prices, not lower,” Kurzawski says. "However, the pre-report general consensus was for a decline in the neighborhood of 0.8 to 1.0 percent for September―without a production revision of 47 million more pounds in August.”

August was supposed to be the first month in 32 months to have negative growth; however, with the revision Kurzawski referred to, the month ended virtually tied with August 2011.

September is a different story. Besides having lower milk per cow than the same month a year earlier, the number of cows is down by a signifcant margin -- 6,000 compared to September 2011 and 27,000 compared to August 2012.  

California, the No. 1 milk-producing state, was down 3.9 percent in September compared to the same month a year earlier. Wisconsin, the No. 2 state, was up 2.9 percent.

To see the USDA “Milk Production” report released Friday afternoon, click here.