Milk production increases of 1 percent in November and 1.6 percent in December were larger than what some analysts predicted.
But January came in a little lower than expected ― 0.5 percent across the entire United States.
For that reason, market analyst Dave Kurzawski, of FC Stone/Downes-O’Neill in Chicago, called Wednesday’s “Milk Production” report from USDA “slightly bullish.”
"Total U.S. milk production was up 0.5 percent year over year ― slightly below our expectation for a 1.3 percent increase," Kurzawski said.
"Milk per cow was where our estimates deviated strongly from the actual results, coming in at 1,854 (pounds) per cow ― well below our expected 1,869," he added.
The number of dairy cows across the U.S. actually declined by 17,000 head in January.
In terms of milk production, states in the Upper Midwest posted healthy gains, with Wisconsin up 4.9 percent, Minnesota up 4.5 percent, and Michigan up 3.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.
California, the No. 1 milk-producing state, was down 4.3 percent.
Yet, California has enjoyed nearly ideal weather for much of February, which could boost milk production in the next USDA report.