There was a 0.9 percent rise in milk production during March in the top 23 dairy states, according to USDA's Milk Production report released earlier this week. That was the second month in a row that milk production was above year-earlier levels despite the cost-price squeeze that's affecting dairy operations across the nation. USDA revised upward its estimate of the February rise to 0.3 percent from the original report of plus 0.1 percent.

The March jump of 0.9 percent in the top states came from a 1.9 percent drop in cow numbers and a 2.8 percent rise in milk per cow. There were 162,000 fewer cows in the 23 states than there were last March. Nationally, there were an estimated 193,000 fewer cows on dairy farms this March with the national dairy herd estimated at 9.09 million head.

California was down 0.7 percent in milk during March. Milk per cow was up 2.6 percent, but there were 63,000 fewer cows in the Golden State than a year ago, a 3.5 percent drop.

Wisconsin had the big jump with milk being up 6.3 percent in March. Nearly all of that gain came from the 6 percent rise in milk produced per cow.

The Number 3 dairy state, New York, was up 0.2 percent in milk, while Number 4, Idaho, was up 3 percent.

Other notable changes included Arizona which was down 7 percent in milk with 10 percent (19,000) fewer cows. Colorado was down 8.3 percent in milk with 9.4 percent (12,000) fewer cows. Missouri was down 8.4 percent in milk with 6.5 percent (7,000) fewer cows. Washington shot up 6.3 percent in milk with 4.2 percent (10,000) more cows and 3.6 percent more milk per cow.