Dairy producers in the Midwest were still able to make a profit in March, thanks to a milk price that edged just over $20, according to Robert Tigner, a University of Nebraska dairy specialist.
Tigner’s bugets show a freestall herd averaging 20,000 lb. of milk per cow had a breakeven cost of $19.29, based on corn at $6.56/bu and soybean meal at $311/ton. A freestall herd rolling along at 24,000 lb/cow had a breakeven of $17.44. Tie stall herds that average just 20,000 lb./cow lost 54¢/cwt.
Plug in today’s corn and soybean meal prices of $7.52/bu and $348/ton, respectively, and breakevens jump about a dollar per hundredweight. The 20,000 lb. freestall herd’s breakeven jumps to $20.32 and the tiestall herd at 20,000 lb. jumps to almost $22. The 24,000 lb. herds are still profitable, but only as long as milk prices stay above $20 for tie stall herds and $19 for freestall herds.