Buckeye Dairy News: VOLUME 24: ISSUE 1

  1. Milk Prices, Costs of Nutrients, Margins and Comparison of Feedstuffs Prices

    April F. White, Graduate Research Associate, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    Milk prices

    In the last issue, the Class III futures for December and January were at $17.95/cwt and $18.23/cwt, respectively. Class III milk again closed higher than predicted at $18.36/cwt in December, with protein and butterfat at $2.59/lb and $2.29/lb respectively. While component prices are still strong, the price of protein has decreased compared to the November issue. For this issue, the Class III future for February is $20.21/cwt, followed by a further increase in March to $21.32/cwt.

    Nutrient prices

    It can be helpful to compare the prices in Table 1 to the 5-year averages. The price of net energy for lactation (NEL) is about 25% lower than the 5-year average ($0.08/Mcal), while metabolizable protein (MP) and physically-effective neutral detergent fiber (pe-NDF) are 55 and 25% higher than the 5-year averages ($0.38/lb and $0.08/lb, respectively). Although in line with typical seasonal cycling of nutrient cost, these prices yield an overall nutrient cost to feed that is slightly higher than the 5-year average.

    To estimate profitability at these nutrient prices, the Cow-Jones Index was used for average US cows weighing 1500 lb and producing milk with 3.9% fat and 3.2% protein. For January’s issue, the income over nutrient cost (IONC) for cows milking 70 lb/day and 85 lb/day is about $11.36 and $11.83/cwt, respectively. Both estimates are increased by about $2/cwt compared to the November issue and are likely to be profitable. As a word of caution, these estimates of IONC do not account for the cost of replacements or dry cows, or for profitability changes related to culling cows.

    Table 1. Prices of dairy nutrients for Ohio dairy farms, January 26, 2022.

    Economic Value of Feeds

    Results of the Sesame analysis for central Ohio on January 26, 2022 are presented in Table 2. Detailed results for all 26 feed commodities are reported. The lower and upper limits mark the 75% confidence range for the predicted (break-even) prices. Feeds in the “Appraisal Set” were those for which we didn’t have a local price or were adjusted to reflect their true (“Corrected”) value in a lactating diet. One must remember that SESAME™ compares all commodities at one specific point in time. Thus, the results do not imply that the bargain feeds are cheap on a historical basis. Feeds for which a price was not reported were added to the appraisal set for this issue.

    Table 2. Actual, breakeven (predicted) and 75% confidence limits of 26 feed commodities used on Ohio dairy farms, January 26, 2022.

    For convenience, Table 3 summarizes the economic classification of feeds according to their outcome in the SESAME™ analysis. Feedstuffs that have gone up in price based on current nutrient values, or in other words moved a column to the right since the last issue, are in oversized text. Conversely, feedstuffs that have moved to the left (i.e., decreased in value) are undersized text. These shifts (i.e., feeds moving columns to the left or right) in price are only temporary changes relative to other feedstuffs within the last two months and do not reflect historical prices. Feeds added to the appraisal set were removed from this table.

    Table 3. Partitioning of feedstuffs in Ohio, January 26, 2022.

    Bargains At Breakeven Overpriced
    Gluten meal Wheat middlings Mechanically extracted canola meal
    Feather meal Corn, ground, dry
    Soybean meal - expeller
    Corn silage Wheat bran  
    Distillers dried grains 48% Soybean meal 44% Soybean meal
    Gluten feed   Solvent extracted canola meal
    Meat meal Soybean hulls  
    Hominy Alfalfa hay - 40% NDF Whole, roasted soybeans
      41% Cottonseed meal Blood meal

    As coined by Dr. St-Pierre, I must remind the readers that these results do not mean that you can formulate a balanced diet using only feeds in the “bargains” column. Feeds in the “bargains” column offer a savings opportunity, and their usage should be maximized within the limits of a properly balanced diet. In addition, prices within a commodity type can vary considerably because of quality differences as well as non-nutritional value added by some suppliers in the form of nutritional services, blending, terms of credit, etc. Also, there are reasons that a feed might be a very good fit in your feeding program while not appearing in the “bargains” column. For example, your nutritionist might be using some molasses in your rations for reasons other than its NEL and MP contents.


    For those of you who use the 5-nutrient group values (i.e., replace metabolizable protein by rumen degradable protein and digestible rumen undegradable protein), see Table 4.

    Table 4. Prices of nutrients using the 5-nutrient solution for Ohio dairy farms, January 26, 2022.


  2. USDA Economic Research Service Dairy Outlook: January 2022

    Chris Zoller, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Tuscarawas County, Ohio State University Extension

    The United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) released its Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook on January 19, 2022.  The entire report is available here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/outlooks/103066/ldp-m-331.pdf?v=2330.5.  This article will provide a summary of the dairy section of the report.

    Supply and Use

    USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates the number of milk cows in November was just over 9 million head, 10,000 lower than October and 47,000 lower than November 2020. The milk per cow estimate for November was 1,922 pounds, 3 pounds above November 2020.

    In their most recent Milk Production report, the USDA NASS November U.S. milk production was estimated at just over 18 billion pounds (a little more than 600 million per day), a drop of 0.4% from November 2020.

    Chart, line chartDescription automatically generated

    Feed Price Outlook



    2021/2022 Corn

    $5.45 per bushel

    2021/2022 Soybean Meal

    $375 per ton

    Alfalfa (as of November 2021)

    $210 per ton

    5-State Weighted Average – Alfalfa

    $246 per ton

    Dairy Estimates – 2021

    Time Period & Category


    4th Quarter – 2021 Cow Numbers

    9.385 million head (10,000 head less)

    4th Quarter – 2021 Milk Yield Per Cow

    5,905 lb/head

    2021 Milk Production

    226.2 billion lb

    Dairy Forecast – 2022

    The latest report projects a slight increase in cow numbers in the second half of 2022, from 9.380 to 9.385 million head.  Average milk per cow is expected to be 24,265 lb.



    Class III


    Class IV


    All Milk



    The January 2022 USDA ERS Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/outlooks/103066/ldp-m-331.pdf?v=2330.5) indicates cautious optimism in the dairy industry for 2022.  However, continuing high input prices and supply chain issues make it critical that dairy farms analyze budgets and develop plans (with alternatives) for this year.

    Additional information is available by contacting your local Extension Educator and using these OSU Extension resources:

  3. Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves – Part 3

    Haley Zynda, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wayne County, Ohio State University Extension

    We’re back with the final installment of the Antibiotic Stewardship in Calves program from Veal Quality Assurance. The final module is treatment protocols, a natural wrap-up to the  program after learning about both the role of antibiotics and clinical evaluations. The goal of Part 3 is to improve treatment accuracy according to veterinarian protocols, and by the end of it, we should be able to select strategies for individual calves (a one-size-fits-all approach is too broad when it comes to veterinary medicine).

    So why are veterinary protocols important? Well, given the title of the course, one of the reasons is to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use. Additionally, avoiding illegal use of medicine, improving treatment success, improving animal welfare (a biggie in today’s consumer perspectives), and to decrease the risk of meat residues. Each protocol your vet gives you will have a set list of components: disease signs, medication and dosing, route of administration, use and frequency of treatment, length of treatment, meat withdrawal (if applicable), and follow-up. We’ll walk through each of these components with an example. With the temperature fluctuation of late, pneumonia is likely a “popular” illness right now, so we’ll use a respiratory disease example.

    Think back to the clinical evaluation section and respiratory disease. Healthy calves should not have eye or nasal discharge, droopy ears, a cough, or abnormal breathing, scoring a 0 on all accounts. If a calf presents with any severity of the former list, they automatically receive a score of at least 2 for each sign. This is where decisions come into play; if the scores add to 2, don’t treat quite yet, just check on them the next day. If the scores add up to 4, take the calf’s temperature. A normal temperature indicates monitoring the calf further, but a temperature above 102.5˚F calls for treatment. Scores adding to 5 or more require immediate treatment, no temperature necessary. Decision trees can help guide when a certain type of treatment is necessary, but always consult with your veterinarian on specific antibiotic use!

    Speaking of medications, there are several names that will appear on labels, depending on the brand you purchase. For example, Polyflex® is a brand name drug, but the generic name is ampicillin. Likewise, for Liquamycin® LA-200 (oxytetracycline) or Baytril® 100 (enrofloxacin). Dosing will also be listed on the bottle (1 cc = 1 mL), as will the route of administration. Adhering to the proper route of administration is extremely important, just look up the results when Banamine® is administered intramuscularly in horses. Medications can be given orally (per os), intravenously, subcutaneously (sub-q), or intramuscularly (IM); the neck is a popular spot for sub-q or IM injections because there are fewer economic losses down the line from site reactions in the muscle.

    Frequency and length of treatment go hand-in-hand; frequency being how often you can administer medication, with length being the number of days the medication is given. Some drugs may have single-dose, single-day treatment options or multiple-day treatment options listed on the bottle, but check with your vet to ensure the correct one is given. Ensuring the correct drug is used for the disease at hand is also an essential part of the puzzle; using antibiotics for off-label use can ONLY be recommended by your veterinarian. So let’s put it all together.

    We have a 100 lb calf with respiratory signs. Her eyes aren’t crusty, but she has labored breathing and some nasal discharge. These signs add up to a 6, so according to our decision tree, we can treat without taking her temperature (but can always do so for more information). After talking with our vet, it sounds like it may be pneumonia and is listed as a use for Polyflex® (ampicillin). This drug is given at a rate of 1 mL per 50 lb of body weight either IM or sub-q. We can treat the calf with 2 mL of ampicillin once per day for 3 to 7 days. Our little heifer calf will stay on the farm to become a replacement, so no withdrawal time is expected. However, on a veal operation, we would need to wait 8 days before sending the animal to slaughter.

    The last part of the equation is recordkeeping. Creating and maintaining thorough records allows producers to monitor progress, or lack thereof, of individual animals and reduce the risk of drug residues in meat. Records are the only way to prove a treatment occurred.

    In summary of the three-part series, antibiotics are a necessary drug to treat bacterial infections but can lead to negative human and animal health impacts if not used judiciously. Recognizing the clinical signs of disease and having a good working relationship with your herd vet allows for accurate and consistent use of antibiotic treatments. Many thanks to Drs. Pempek and Habing from Ohio State University for putting together this comprehensive and essential training.

  4. Ohio Dairy Producer Webinar Series

    Jason Hartschuh, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Crawford County, Ohio State University Extension

    The OSU Extension Dairy Team will be offering a series of webinars this winter to provide producers with timely updates on risk management strategies, milk market outlook, farm safety, and maximizing manure value. The webinars will take place at 1 pm on the following Fridays:

    February 11: Dairy Risk Management: The first two risk management tools many producers utilize are the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) and the Dairy Revenue Protection programs. Dianne Shoemaker will be covering changes that have been made to the DMC program, including the supplemental coverage which allows for an increase in milk production coverage. Jason Hartschuh will be covering the Dairy Revenue Protection program which can be used to set a floor under your milk price.

    February 18: Milk Production, Demand, and Price Outlook for 2022: Dr. Chris Wolf, dairy economist at Cornell University, will be providing us updates on current dairy markets. Milk prices have been continuing to climb - what are the driving factors and how long will milk prices stay up? Even with higher milk prices, margins may stay tight.

    March 4: Keeping Yourself and Employees Safe on the Farm: Dairy farms can be a dangerous place, thus keeping our families and employees safe is critical. Taylor Dill and Jamie Hampton will be talking about assessing safety risks on your farm and developing a plan to help keep everyone on your farm safe.

    March 18: Utilizing Your Farm’s Manure to Maximize Farm Profit: Manure can be an income or an expense, depending how it is managed. Maximizing manure nutrient retention can help make it an income, especially with current fertilizer prices. Learn more about the current fertilizer situation and ways to better utilize manure from Glen Arnold, Chris Zoller, Eric Richer, Haley Zynda, and Chris Shoup.

    To register for the webinar series, visit  https://go.osu.edu/2022osudairyprogram.  If you have question about these educational programs, please contact Jason Hartschuh at Hartschuh.11@osu.edu.

  5. Sources of Hay Markets

    Dr. Maurice L. Eastridge, Professor and Extension Dairy Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, Ohio State University

    Several questions have been received recently about availability of and prices for hay. It’s that time of the year when livestock owners are often inquiring about sources and prices for hay as inventories may be lowered than anticipated and owners of small farms often do not have ample storage for large purchases. There are many local communities that have hay auctions and the intent of the short article is not to capture all of them; however, the sources in this article are to provide potential sources beyond the local community. Some of these sources are Ohio based, but others provide market information across the US:

    1. Kidron Livestock Market, Kidron, OH: https://www.kidronauction.com/market-reports
    2. Mt. Hope Auction, Mt. Hope, OH, https://www.mthopeauction.com/market_reports (look under livestock market reports)
    3. UDSA Reports: https://www.ams.usda.gov/market-news/hay-reports
    4. Hay and Forage Grower sources: https://hayandforage.com/articles.sec-7-1-Markets.html
    5. A couple of websites provide avenues for the buying and selling of hay:
      1. https://agrihayexchange.com/ahe#hay-listings
      2. https://allhay.com/

    Although spring is not very far away on the calendar, we have about another month of potential intense winter yet and it is certainly a while after the arrival of spring before pasture will be able to graze. Stock up on the hay to keep the animals adequately fed relative to their needs and productive stages.