MADISON — September was a good month for dairy farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where gains in milk production were among the best in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Wisconsin harvested 2.2 billion pounds last month. That was a 3 percent improvement over the September 2011 yield.

Minnesota farmers produced 714 million pounds, a 1 percent increase.

The USDA says one reason Wisconsin’s output improved was because its cows were more productive. The average cow produced 1,720 pounds of milk last month, 40 pounds more than in the year-ago month.

Wisconsin is the nation’s second-leading milk producer behind California. Production in the Golden State fell 4 percent to 3.2 billion pounds last month.

U.S. production fell 1 percent to 14.7 billion pounds.

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