April milk output took much less of a hit than many analysts expected. Monthly milk production across the top-20 dairy states fell just 0.9 percent — to 12.6 billion pounds, according to the USDA’s April "Milk Production" report. Preliminary estimates by market analysts had put April milk production down 1.6 percent or so.

Milk per cow averaged 1,630 pounds during April — 3 pounds more than a year ago. On a daily basis, that equates to about 54 pounds per cow per day.

In contrast, April milk-cow numbers slipped 81,000 head below a year ago. However, they were 2,000 head stronger than March. Cow numbers totaled 7.72 million head in the top-20 dairy states during April.

The report, released May 17, also showed a revision in March milk output. Milk output in the top-20 dairy states fell 1.7 percent below year-earlier levels during March, instead of the 1.8-percent reduction reported in April.

The report showed 13 of the top-20 dairy states produced less milk during April compared to a year ago.

Iowa saw the biggest decline — down 6.1 percent in milk output during April. Pennsylvania and Virginia tied for second place with losses of 5.1 percent in each state. Meanwhile, Texas stood out with a 5.5-percent gain in milk output during April versus a year ago. Florida and Idaho tied for a distant second, with gains of 2 percent each.

Milk output in the nation’s top-two dairy states improved during April. California saw a 1.2-percent gain in milk output during April. Wisconsin stayed even with a year ago. Production in both states had been below year-earlier levels during March. The table below shows April milk production for each of the top-20 dairy states.