Buckeye Dairy News: VOLUME 25: 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 November issue, the Class III future for December was $20.16/cwt and the January future was $20.00/cwt. Class III milk closing price for December was only slightly higher than predicted at $20.50/cwt, with protein and butterfat prices at $2.67/lb and $3.15/lb respectively. This issue, the Class III future for February is $17.95/cwt, and the March future is $17.80/cwt.

    Nutrient prices

    It can be helpful to compare the prices in Table 1 to the 5-year averages. Compared to the November issue, the increased costs of both corn and soybean meal out of Chicago lend themselves to an increased cost of NEL, double the 5-year average ($0.09/Mcal). However, the cost of MP more closely mirrors the 5-year average ($0.44/lb) at about 6% lower.

    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 the January issue, the income over nutrient cost (IONC) for cows milking 70 lb/day and 85 lb/day is about $12.28 and $12.79/cwt, respectively. Although still expected to be profitable, both estimates are lower than those in November. 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 25, 2023.

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    Economic Value of Feeds

    Results of the Sesame analysis for central Ohio on January 25, 2023 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 25, 2023.

    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 25, 2023.

    Bargains At Breakeven Overpriced
    Corn, ground, dry

    Alfalfa hay -
    40% NDF

    Mechanically extracted canola meal
    Corn silage Soybean meal - expeller Whole, roasted soybeans
    Distillers dried grains

    Feather meal

    Wheat bran

    Corn gluten feed Corn gluten meal 44% Soybean meal
    Hominy Meat meal Solvent extracted canola meal
    Wheat middlings Whole Cottonseed Blood meal
      Soybean hulls 41% Cottonseed meal

    48% Soybean 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 below.

    Table 4. Prices of dairy nutrients using the 5-nutrient solution for Ohio dairy farms, January 25, 2023.


  2. USDA ERS Dairy Outlook: January 2023

    Chris Zoller, Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 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, 2023.  The full report is available here: https://downloads.usda.library.cornell.edu/usda-esmis/files/g445cd121/gx41nx08z/hh63v522z/LDP-M-343.pdf. This article summarizes portions of the dairy report.

    Dairy Supply and Use

    The November estimate by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of milk production was 18.2 billion pounds. This represents a 1.3% increase from November 2021. Cow numbers were also reportedly higher – 1,000 more than the previous month and 38,000 greater than the year prior. Milk production per cow for November was 1,937 lb, an increase of 17 lb compared to November 2021.

    Chart, line chartDescription automatically generatedNumbers from the NASS Agricultural Prices report, with comparisons to 2021, are summarized in the table below.


    November 2022

    November 2021

    All Milk, $/cwt



    Corn, $/bu



    Alfalfa Hay, $/ton



    5-State Avg. – Hay, $/ton



    Soybean meal, $/ton



    2023 Forecast

    USDA is projecting a decline of 15,000 head of dairy cattle in 2023. This is the result of expected lower milk prices and steady to increasing feed costs. The January 31 Cattle on Feed Report from USDA will provide a better indication of future dairy numbers. Average milk production remained unchanged and is projected at 24,370 lb/cow.

    USDA Projected 2023 Dairy Prices ($/cwt)


    Projected Price

    Class III


    Class IV


    All Milk


    Moving Forward

    Early indications are that 2023 will be a challenging year for dairy farms. While there has been a drop in fertilizer prices, many inputs look to remain steady or increase in price. This scenario will require budgeting, monitoring, and evaluation on a regular basis. 

    I encourage you to have open conversations with your lender, input suppliers, and Extension professional as you work through the year. There are many resources and people available to help you be successful.

  3. Over-the-Counter Antibiotics Will Require Veterinary Oversight (Rx) Beginning in June of 2023

    Dr. Gustavo M. Schuenemann, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Oho State University

    By June of 2023, all medically important antibiotics currently available at most feed or farm supply stores will now require veterinary oversight (written Rx) to be used in animals, even if the animals are not intended for food production. Examples of affected antibiotics include injectable penicillin and oxytetracycline. In addition, some retail suppliers who were able to sell these drugs/products in the past may no longer sell them after June of 2023.  This means that small and large animal veterinarians should be prepared for an increase in calls and visits from animal owners who previously may have purchased these drugs over the counter at their local farm supply store. To continue using medically important antimicrobials, you may need to establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Consult your veterinarian for more information.   

    What is a veterinarian-client-patient-relationship?

    A veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the basis for interaction among veterinarians, their clients, and their patients and is critical to the health of your animal(s). The practical explanation is that it is a formal relationship that you have with a veterinarian who serves as your primary contact for all veterinary services and is familiar with you, your livestock/animals, and your farm operation. This veterinarian is referred to as your Veterinarian of Record (VoR), and both the VoR and the client should sign a form to document this relationship.

    What species are included?

    From companion dogs and cats to backyard poultry, and from rabbits and show pigs to large livestock farms. The same restrictions will apply to all companion and farm animal species.

    How do your health protocols measure up?

    Health protocols are customized for individuals and farm-specific, and practicing veterinarians are often asked to develop and write protocols for individual farms, particularly health protocols. Injectable antimicrobials alone will not work as intended if animals are experiencing pain (drop feed and water intake) and/or dehydration. OSU Veterinary Extension is available to review your health protocols but must submitted by a practicing veterinarian to Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann at schuenemann.5@osu.edu.


    1. Over-the-Counter Antibiotics Will Require Veterinary Oversight (Rx) Beginning in June of 2023
    2. Veterinary Client-Patient Relationship
    3. Veterinary Feed Directive
    4. List of Approved New Animal Drug Applications Affected by GFI #263
    5. PowerPoint Presentation: Dr. Amber McCoig discussing FDA Guidance for Industry #263 and #256
    6. Antibiotic Stewardship for Beef and Dairy Cattle
    7. Antibiotic Stewardship for Poultry
    8. Antibiotic Stewardship Sheep and Goats
  4. Considering Dairy Farm Construction in 2023?

    Jason Hartschuh, Field Specialist, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock, Ohio State University Extension

    Remodeling existing facilities to improve cow comfort can improve the longevity and production of your herd. When remodeling with a few improvements, you may consider free stall size, bedding material, water availability, lighting, floor grooving, and fan placement.

    If an expansion is in your future, many of the same decisions will apply along with alley widths, the distance between cross-overs, and the alley cleaning system. All of these building projects will be affected by the availability and price of construction materials.

    Inflation and rising interest rates are beginning to influence the construction industry, with fewer new construction projects being planned. In October 2022, the architecture billing rates index dropped below 50 which is considered the required amount for construction to remain fully booked (an index above 50 represents an increase in billed architectural plans and below 50 a decrease compared to the prior month). Construction will remain busy through 2023 with a 9 to 12-month lag between a decrease in architecture billing hours and construction projects. Since the architects complete most of their work prior to construction beginning there is a lag. Over the past year, construction has seen a 3.3% increase in total needed employees, but like other industries, it is struggling to attract enough employees which is causing delays in construction project completion.

    Concrete costs have risen 11.6% over the last year and are expected to stay at these levels through most of 2023, with tight supplies of both cement and sand (Figure 1). Lumber prices are remaining strong as of September with soft lumber being up 14.5% and plywood up 19.6%. A few materials have come down, including steel which is 23.8% lower than last quarter but still 200% higher than 2018 prices. Since September, lumber has declined 9% from quarter 3 to quarter 4 of 2022 and is still about 110% higher than in 2018. Construction companies are expected to remain at full capacity through most of 2023 and building costs to not decrease until late into 2023. The location has a great effect on the construction market outlook.

     Figure 1. Construction Connection, Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.ecmag.com/magazine/articles/article-detail/falling-into-place-2023-construction-outlook

    When installing new free stalls, they should be sized to match the largest 25% of the cows in the group. Compromises do occasionally have to be made if your groups have a high percentage of first lactation cows in the group, especially if there is intolerance for manure on the back of stalls. Mature Holstein cows need 3 to 4 feet of open space in front of the stall for cows to lunge or they will lay at diagonally in your stalls, leaving manure in the corners instead of the alley. Stalls that are against a wall should be 10 feet from the back of the stall to the wall while head-to-head stall platforms should be a total of 18 feet. Even in head-to-head stalls when they are too close together, cows lunge to the side, especially cows who are socially intimidated by a dominant cow. 

    1000-pound cows should have stalls that are 42 inches on center with 64 inches from the curb to the brisket locator and 58 inches from the curb to the neck rail. A 1600-pound Holstein cow needs a stall that is 50 inches on center with 70 inches from the curb to the brisket locator and 64 inches from the curb to the neck rail. Other cow sizes can be found in Figure 2.

    Animal Weight

    Total Stall Length

    Total Stall Length

    Length to Brisket Tube or Board

    Length to Neck Rail

    Stall Width Center to Center

    Height to Top of Partition

    Height to Neck Rail

    Brisket Board or Tube Height


    Closed Front

    Open Front


































































    Figure 2. Freestall sizes based on animal weight. Dairy Freestall Housing and Equipment, Midwest Plan Service, Iowa State University, Ames.

    Water availability is another critical component. Cows consume 30 to 60% of their water needs shortly after milking so waters need to be located close to the parlor or robot exits and throughout the barn. The stand-by has been 2 inches of assessable water trough perimeter per cow, but recent research has shown this needs to be 3 to 5 inches per cow, especially in the summer during heat stress periods. Each group of cows should have at least two waters so that more timid cows can access water when a dominant cow is controlling them. Barn crossovers and alleys with water or feed should be 14 feet wide so that eating and drinking cows are not disrupted by cows walking by.

    Figure 3. Distance for fan air plume to reach cows and dissipate. Comparing the fans, the first black fan has a 20-foot gap before it reaches cow height. With a 24-foot spacing, the black, red, and blue fans can be shown to provide the overlap necessary to eliminate dead zones between fans. (The Dairyland Institute, https://thedairylandinitiative.vetmed.wisc.edu/home/housing-module/adult-cow-housing/ventilation-and-heat-abatement/)

    Assessing barn ventilation also is critical during the building process. Stalls should have an air speed of 200 to 400 ft/minute at the cow lying height, about 2.5 ft off the stall surface. Air speeds over 400 ft/minute provide little additional heat abatement benefits. A 48-inch fan previously was used to cover 40 ft, but newer research shows that when these fans are pointed correctly for cooling while cows are lying down, they need to be closer at 24 ft apart or 5 times the blade diameter. It takes about 20 ft for air to reach the cow’s back from the fan, so fans that are 40 ft apart are really covering 60 ft with a 20-ft dead zone (Figure 3). Best wishes with your upcoming construction projects, whether it is a renovation or new construction.     

  5. Leadership Changes in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University

      Dr. Pasha Lyvers Peffer has been appointed as Professor and Chair of the Department of Animal Sciences after serving in the interim role since October 2021. Her four-year term began on January 1, 2023. Dr. Lyvers Peffer joined the Department of Animal Sciences as an assistant professor in 2005, becoming an associate professor in 2011, and was promoted to a full professor in 2018. She previously served as undergraduate program leader and chair of Academic Affairs in the Department of Animal Sciences from 2014–2017, as interim Associate Chair of Animal Sciences from 2016–2017, and as acting assistant dean of CFAES Academic Affairs from 2017–2018.

    Since her appointment as Interim Chair, Dr. Lyvers Peffer has worked toward building identity and priorities within the Department. In moving forward as chair, Dr. Lyvers Peffer’s appointment will help provide leadership stability for the Department while continuing important work in solidifying short- and long-term priorities and inclusion of additional faculty from the Center for Food Animal Health. Dr. Lyvers Peffer can be contacted at lyverspeffer.1@osu.edu.

     Dr. Maurice Eastridge has been appointed as Senior Associate Chair in the Department, effective January 1, 2023. He joined the faculty in March 1986 as an assistant professor, was promoted and tenured to Associate Professor in 1991, and was promoted to Professor in 1999. Since June 2018, he has served as Associate Chair in the Department. He will continue working with academic programs and conducting teaching, research, and outreach education in dairy cattle nutrition and management; however, special focus will be on outreach and stakeholder engagement for the Department and College. Dr. Eastridge resides on the Columbus campus and can be reached at eastridge.1@osu.edu.

     Dr. Chanhee Lee has been appointed as Associate Chair in the Department, effective January 1, 2023. He joined the faculty as a researcher in dairy cattle nutrition as an assistant professor in 2015 and was promoted and tenured as an Associate Professor in 2021. He will continue in his research role while also taking on the administrative role. Dr. Lee resides on the Wooster campus and can be reached at lee.7502@osu.edu

  6. Northeast Ohio Regional Dairy Conference

    Dr. Shaun Wellert, Senior Lecturer, Agricultural Technical Institute, The Ohio State University

    The 23rd annual Northeast Ohio Regional Dairy Conference will be held Wednesday, February 15, 2023, at Fisher Auditorium on the Wooster campus of Ohio State University.  This program is hosted by the Killbuck Valley Veterinary Medical Association. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Joao Costa from the University of Kentucky, an expert in animal behavior and precision dairy technologies, and he will be discussing activity monitoring systems for adult cows, automated calf systems, and the how to use the information that these systems provide to improve farm management.  A discussion panel of local dairy farmers who use activity monitoring systems in the management of their farms will be held to allow anyone interested to ask questions and gain more insight about these game changing technologies. Along with the educational portion of the Conference, a trade show of over 50 vendors will be present to update attendees about their products and services.  Thanks to generous sponsorship, the registration is free and breakfast and lunch will be provided. This is a great opportunity for learning and fellowship with fellow dairy farmers and industry professionals. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend, just please register before February 5th to allow an accurate count for meals. For more information and to register, go to NEOdairy.com

  7. Upcoming Dairy Youth Events

    Bonnie Ayars and Sherry Smith, Dairy Extension Program Specialists, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    Youth Dairy Judging Clinic, Saturday, March 11, 2023, 10:00 am -1:00 pm, OSU Animal Science Building, 2029 Fyffe Court, Columbus

    Note: There will be no registration fee for this clinic but there will also be no lunch.  Please plan to eat before or after the clinic on your own this year.  There is a parking fee for the Animal Science parking lot, please be sure you find the parking meter at the northwest corner of the lot and enter through the back door of the Animal Sciences Building on the west side of the building. For more additional information, please contact Sherry Smith at smith.10072@osu.edu, sbgs82@att.netor 330.465.2376.

    Ohio State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest, Thursday, March 30, 2023, Ohio State Expositions Center, Columbus, Coliseum Arena, during Spring Dairy Expo

    Preregistration for the contest will be online at https://springdairyexpo.com/judging-contests/ (available by February 1). Registration will be from 8:00-9:00 am with the contest beginning at 9:00 am. The cost is $7.00 for each contestant if pre-registered, but $10.00 on the day of the contest. Lunch is not included in this fee. This contest will be used to help in the selection of the State 4-H dairy judging team. Individuals who would like to try out for the State team are expected to compete in this contest. For more additional information, please contact Sherry Smith at smith.10072@osu.edu, sbgs82@att.net, or 330.465.2376

    Dairy Palooza, Saturday, April 2023, Wooster, OH

    For 10 different years, Dairy Palooza has offered a wonderful educational opportunity for dairy youth. It grew in success due to excellent financial support and dedicated volunteers. In an effort to update and work on some of the challenges, we will be offering the 2023 Dairy Palooza: Version II. This year, we will make an attempt to teach advisors and kids how to use what they learn. It will be held on a Saturday during late April in the Wooster area. Additional information will be available soon at https://ohio4h.org/statewide-programs/animal-sciences/dairy/events or you can contact Bonnie Ayars at ayars.5@osu.edu or bonnieayars@yahoo.com.