Milk production grew during April, but the pace has slowed down. In the top 23 dairy states, milk output totaled 14.2 billion pounds during April  up 3.7 percent versus a year ago, according to the USDA’s “Milk Production” report released Wednesday. That, however, is sharply lower than the 5.6-percent production gain achieved during March.

Milk per cow in the top 23 states averaged 1,727 pounds during the month, or about 58 pounds per cow per day. Per cow output during April is 2.2 percent higher than a year ago. However, it wasn’t as strong as the 4-percent gain seen during March. The chart below shows milk per cow in each of the top 23 states during April versus a year ago.

The number of milk cows grew 1.5 percent in the top 23 states during April versus a year ago. Cow numbers totaled 8.24 million head — up 124,000 head versus a year ago and 13,000 head more than March.

The southwest led the 23 states in milk-production gains. New Mexico was up 13.7 percent and Texas was up 11.8 percent. Arizona came in third with a gain of 9.2 percent versus a year ago. Production losses took their biggest toll in Oregon, Florida and Washington — down 5.1 percent, 2.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

The USDA report also showed a 0.1-percent upward revision in March milk production, which puts it 5.6 percent above a year ago instead of the 5.5 percent reported during April. During March, the top 23 states produced 14.6 billion pounds of milk, up 25 million pounds versus the preliminary estimate reported during April.