Randy and Jennifer Gross

March 5, 2009 06:00 PM

*Extended comments highlighted in blue.

Randy & Jennifer Gross
Elkton, S.D.
While there is no doubt that cows emit so-called "greenhouse gases,” what is often overlooked when discussing dairy's environmental impact is the fact that the national dairy herd is far more efficient than it was just a couple of generations ago.

In the 1920s, there were more than 20 million U.S. dairy cows, producing at a much lower level. Today there are just over 9 million, feeding a much larger world population. We believe it is safe to assume that dairy's contribution to "greenhouse gas” is significantly less than it was 80 years ago.

We have been watching from the sidelines with regard to anaerobic methane digesters, biogas, carbon credits and the like. That's not to say they are not in our future. But at this point we have not employed them, perhaps because energy costs as compared to feed and labor are relatively small and returns on energy production appear to be relatively minor.

Grosses' January Prices  
Milk (3.65% bf, 3.00% prt): $12.61/cwt.
Cull cows: $39/cwt.
Springing heifers: $1,400/head
Alfalfa $180/ton
Cottonseed (spot): $278/ton
Ground corn: $134.50/ton

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