Compared to heftier growth percentages earlier this year, November’s is downright modest.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk production in November was up 0.3 percent in the top 23 dairy states compared to November 2012. Across the entire U.S., milk production was up a scant 0.1 percent.

Market analysts had predicted a higher growth figure for November, so the fact that it came in below expectations may be interpreted as “bullish” for market prices.

“Lower-than-expected milk production, along with declining cow numbers month over month (from October to November), leads us to call this a bullish report,” says market analyst Dave Kurzawski with FCStone in Chicago. 

An underlying factor: Milk per cow increased by just one pound in November compared to the same month a year earlier.

Kansas had the highest increase in November at 7.5 percent. California, the No. 1 milk-producing state, was up 0.6 percent and Wisconsin, the No. 2 state, was down 0.6 percent.