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October 14, 2016

Western Corn Belt Dairy Budgets Improve in September

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Dairy farmers in the western corn belt aren’t taking wheel barrows of cash to the bank, but budgets did improve over August, according to numbers produced by Robert Tigner, an Extension dairy educator with the University of Nebraska.

That’s largely due to the fact that the Federal Order Producer Price Differential, though still a negative 7¢/cwt in September, was up 75¢/cwt from August. Consequently, mailbox milk prices came in at $17.32 in September compared to $16.65 in August.

Feed costs rose slightly in September, up about 35¢ per hundredweight of milk produced. That’s largely due to hay prices jumping from $160/ton in August to $175/ton last month. Cull cow prices fell almost 15% to $66.50 in September as well.

Nevertheless, freestall herds producing 24,000 lb./milk/pow were netting $2.51/cwt over all costs in September; tie stall herds making that amount of milk were netting $1.31/cwt. “Looking at the returns to management for the September budget, only the 20,000 pound tiestall budget was negative, (46¢/cwt),” he says.