Dairy budgets stopped bleeding red as a result of higher milk prices and lower feed costs, according to budgets prepared by Robert Tigner, a University of Nebraska Extension dairy educator.
“The improved income came from higher butterfat production and price even though the protein price declined,” he says. “Soybean meal price decline contributed the most to feed cost declines while corn price added a little as well.”
Note: Tigner’s budgets are based on feed pegged at market prices, and labor valued at $13/hour (wages plus benefits). Farms that grow their own feed will likely have different numbers.
Once again, the higher producing herds fared better. Herds producing 24,000 lb. of milk per cow had a return to labor and management of $4/cwt in September, and a return to management of $1.81/cwt. That latter number is up 50¢/cwt over August.
In herds averaging 20,000 lb./cow, the return to labor and management was $2.74/cwt, and the return to management alone was 12¢/cwt. But again, the return to management was 36¢ better than August.
The prices are based on a milk price of $17.56/cwt, with butter valued at $2.75/lb. and protein valued at $1.98/lb. Corn was budgeted at $3.56/bu, soybean meal at $286/ton and dairy quality hay at $200/ton. Cull cows were valued at $81/cwt.