Freestall herds in Iowa and Nebraska pumping out 24,000 lb/cow/year showed a return to profitability in May, according to budgets prepared by Robert Tigner, a University of Nebraska dairy Extension educator.
“This improvement came from reduced cost of corn and a small improvement in milk price. That milk price improvement came about due to a significant increase in the butterfat price, just over 16¢/lb, for the Central Federal Milk Market Order (FMMO),” he says.
Freestall herds producing at just 20,000 lb. per cow are still losing money when all costs are considered, Tigner notes. These herds were losing about 78¢/cwt.
Tie stall herds also continued to lose money because of their higher labor costs. Tie stall herds at 24,000 lb/cow lost 29¢/cwt. Tie stall herds producing 20,000 lb/cow lost more than $2.
All prices in the budgets are at market levels: $16.77/cwt for milk; $3.60/bu for corn; $302/ton for soybean meal; $215/ton for alfalfa, and $98/cwt for cull cows. Labor is figured at $13/hour including benefits.