Net Dairy Margins Near $2,000 per cow

03:33PM May 20, 2014
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Lower prices for alfalfa and cottonseed suggest net margins to management, after all costs are included, jumped 19% in April over March, says Robert Tigner, a Nebraska dairy Extension educator.

"Returns to milk production for April were higher than March by as much as $1.15 per cwt. for the 24,000 pound freestall budget. The increase was due to a significant decline in hay prices and an improved SCC price," he says.

Keep in mind that Tigner uses market prices in his budgets. So dairy farmers who grow their own feed may have even lower feed costs, and thus even better margins.

In Tigner’s April budget, returns to management after all other costs were accounted for, were $7.29/cwt or $1,900 for a cow producing 24,000 lb. of milk per year. That’s a jump from $6.14/cwt and $1,600 per cow in March.

April feed prices were $4.89/bu corn, $200/t hay, $446/t cottonseed and $486/t soybean meal. In March, those prices were $4.60/bu corn, $250/to hay, $420/t cottonseed and $488/t soybean meal.

The April milk price came in at $25.60/cwt. The March milk price was $25.35/cwt.