It can't get much closer than this.

Milk production in the top 23 dairy states totaled 15.165 billion pounds in October, down ever so slightly from the 15.17 billion pounds registered the same month a year earlier, according to the “Milk Production” report released Monday afternoon by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Across all 50 states, milk production in October was down 0.1 percent.

Could the much-expected decline in milk production be a one-month wonder? In August and now October, milk production held steady on a year-over-year basis. September was the only month to show a significant decline ― 0.6 percent across all 50 states.

Dave Kurzawski, dairy analyst with FC Stone/Downes-O’Neill in Chicago, called the USDA report "slightly bearish in comparison to expectations." Analysts had expected fewer milk cows and a bigger production decline than what occurred.   

"Cow numbers were perhaps the most bearish influence on this report as total cows were 9.187 (million) vs. our estimate for 9.171," Kurzawski said.

Milk production per cow held steady in October, up just 2 pounds from the same month a year earlier across all 50 states.

In California, the No. 1 milk-producing state, October production declined by 3.5 percent. Wisconsin, the No. 2 state, was up 4.7 percent.