Budgets for Midwest freestall herds producing 24,000 lb. of milk per cow show a return to labor and management of $3.45/cwt, and a return to management alone of $1.31/cwt, according to Robert Tigner, a University of Nebraska Extension educator.
Herds producing 20,000 lb. of milk were seeing a $2.27/cwt return to labor and management. But when you subtract out labor, returns to management go negative to the tune of 26¢/cwt. Labor is valued at $13/hour and 45 hours of labor per cow.
“This budget showed improvement compared to July by as much as 49¢/cwt.,” says Tigner. “The 24,000 pound budget showed recovery of all costs including labor and management while the same budget did not in July.
“The 24,000 pound budget had $26 more income per cow and $122 less feed cost [than July],” he adds. The 20,000 lb. herd had $90 per cow lower feed costs, but income increased only $21/cow.
Herds in tie stall barns didn’t fare as well because labor is estimated at 70 hours per cow per month. Returns for tie stall herds producing 24,000 lb. of milk per cow were still positive, but just barely so at 17¢/cwt. The 20,000 lb. tie stall herds were losing $1.54 per cwt.
Costs and returns were based on a mailbox milk price of $16.80/cwt, a corn price of $3.61/cwt, soybean meal at $333/ton and alfalfa hay at $200/ton.