Milk production across the U.S. was up 3.2 percent in April compared to the same month a year earlier, according to the Milk Production report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday afternoon.

The increase is down slightly from the hefty increases of 4.3 percent and 4.2 percent in February and March, respectively.

Dave Kurzawski, dairy analyst with FC Stone/Downes-O’Neill in Chicago, says his initial reaction to the report is “slightly bullish” because the increase wasn’t as big as analysts had predicted.

"Although the results came in slightly below our expectations of a 4 percent gain," he said, "the results still represent excellent milking conditions throughout most of the U.S." 

It is the 27th month in a row that milk production has grown on a year-over-year basis.

The states showing the largest increases in April were: Utah (7.9 percent), Colorado (6.8 percent) and Michigan (6.2 percent). Pennsylvania showed a 1 percent decrease.

In the top 23 states, the number of milk cows grew by 94,000 head from April 2011 to April 2012. Meanwhile, milk per cow increased 40 pounds ― 1,835 to 1,875 ― over the same time period.