Midwest freestall herds producing 24,000 lb./cow were the only herds making money in October, according to spreadsheets developed by Robert Tigner, a Nebraska Extension dairy specialist.
Tigner estimates these high producing herds netted $1.35/cwt in October, based on a milk price of $19.96/cwt, corn at $6.28/bu, soybean meal at $280/ton and alfalfa at $190/ton.
Freestall herds averaging 20,000 lb/cow lost 74¢/cwt in October due to lower productivity and an inability to spread fixed costs over more pounds of milk. Tie stall herds producing 20,000 lb. of milk lost an estimated $2.26, due in large part to higher labor costs. Tie stall herds producing 24,000 lb./cow broke even in October.
Based on $13/hour labor costs, Tigner estimates labor in the high producing tie stall barns was $3.61/cwt. It was $1.28/cwt less in the high producing freestall herds, essentially accounting for difference in making money or breaking even.