Lower milk prices in December meant profits shrunk 71¢/cwt for herds in the Western cornbelt, according to budgets prepared by Robert Tigner, an Extension dairy educator with the University of Nebraska.
“Total revenue was $147 per cow lower for the 20,000 pound freestall budget or $0.73 per cwt lower,” says Tigner. “That drop in revenue came mostly from a drop in both butterfat and protein prices. The uniform price calculated by the Central FMMO was 85 cents per cwt. lower in December than November.”
Despite that, higher producing herds were still showing a positive return to management. Freestall herds producing 20,000 lb./cow were still clearing 31¢/cwt; 24,000 lb./cow herds were netting $2/cwt. Tie-stall herds, with their higher labor costs, were netting 80¢/cwt if they were producing 24,000 lb./cow. The only herds losing money were tie-stall herds producing 20,000 lb./cow, which was the same story as November.
Tigner’s December budget number was based on a milk price of$17.54/cwt, corn at $3.58/bu, soybean meal at $251/ton and alfalfa at $183/ton. Cull cow values fell to $62/cwt.