Volatility road sign.
May 22, 2018

April Dairy Budgets Still Bleed Red

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Calculated budgets for dairy farms in the western corn belt were still bleeding red, even though milk prices were up slightly from $15.53/cwt in March to $15.86 in April, says Robert Tigner, a University of Nebraska Extension dairy educator.


All feed prices were up, with corn up 11¢/bu to $3.68, soybean meal up $9/ton to $358 and hay up $10 a ton to $195. “Compared to March 2018, feed costs rose by 93¢/cwt [for herds producing 20,000 lb of milk per cow]," he says.


Tigner also periodically adjusts other costs, based on published benchmark data from the University of Minnesota’s Center for Farm Financial Management. Those higher costs also attributed to budgets continuing in the red.


For 20,000 lb herds, loss are still running more than $3/cwt when labor and returns to management are included. For herds selling 24,000 lb/cow in freestalls, total losses are approaching breakeven with losses of just 4¢/cwt.  Because of higher labor costs, 24,000 lb herds in tie stall barns are still losing about $1/cwt.