Milk production rose in February for the first time (on a year-over-year basis) since July. The 0.1 percent increase in February 2010 versus February 2009 could dampen milk prices even further.

According to USDA’s “Milk Production” report on Thursday, the number of milk cows in the top 23 dairy states was 8.32 million head, 168,000 less than February 2009. However, milk production per cow rose by 35 pounds, offsetting the smaller herd size.

And, there were 3,000 more milk cows in February than in January.

The Upper Midwest continued to increase production at a healthy clip. Milk production in Wisconsin and Minnesota grew in February by 5.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, compared to the same month a year earlier. Production in the nation’s No. 1 milk-producing state, California, fell by 1.6 percent.

Source: Milk Production report, USDA