Buckeye Dairy News: VOLUME 26: 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 milk future for January was $16.38/cwt.  Class III milk closing price for December was $16.04/cwt, with protein and butterfat prices at $1.45 and $2.98/lb, respectively. The price of milk protein and fat have decreased since the previous issue, a trend typically seen through post-holidays through winter. In this issue, the Class III future for February is $15.95/cwt with March at $16.33/cwt.

    Nutrient Prices

    It can be helpful to compare the prices in Table 1 to the 5-year averages. Since the November issue, the cost of net energy for lactation (NEL) has decreased by about 27%. The cost of NEL is about even with the 5-year average ($0.09/Mcal). The cost of metabolizable protein (MP) has increased slightly since the November issue, but it is still currently about 5% higher than the 5-year average ($0.44/lb).

    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 2024 issue, the income over nutrient cost (IONC) for cows milking 70 and 85 lb/day is about $9.32 and $9.79/cwt, respectively. Both values are expected to be profitable even though they experienced a post-holidays decline. 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 12, 2024.

    Economic Value of Feeds

    Results of the Sesame analysis for central Ohio on January 12, 2024 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 in this issue.

    Table 2. Actual, breakeven (predicted) and 75% confidence limits of 26 feed commodities used on Ohio dairy farms, January 12, 2024.

    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 12, 2024.


    At Breakeven


    Corn, ground, dry

    Wheat bran

    41% Cottonseed meal

    Corn silage

    Whole cottonseed

    Blood meal

    Distillers dried grains


    Mechanically extracted canola meal

    Gluten meal

    Wheat middlings

    Solvent extracted canola meal

    Gluten feed

    Soybean hulls

    44% Soybean meal

    Meat meal

    48% Soybean meal

    Whole, roasted soybeans


    Soybean meal - expeller



    Alfalfa hay – 40% NDF



    Feather 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 dairy nutrients using the 5-nutrient solution for Ohio dairy farms, January 12, 2024.


  2. Who is the New Guy?

    Dr. Kirby Krogstad, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a whirlwind start to 2024. Before it gets crazier, I want to introduce myself to all of you Buckeye Dairy News readers. My name is Kirby Krogstad, and I just joined the faculty at The Ohio State University at the Wooster Campus. I have a research and Extension position, so I will be getting to know the Ohio dairy community very well, and hopefully you’ll all get to know me, too!

    I grew up on dairy farms in South Dakota (Krogstad Bros. Dairy) and Minnesota (Garlin Dairy). I grew up like many other farm kids – I spent a lot of time playing sports and showing cattle. After high school, I went to South Dakota State University (Go Jacks!) where I studied dairy production and ag business. In college, I was involved in student government, dairy club, and dairy judging. I also had my first research experience as an undergraduate with Dr. Jill Anderson. I am still a passionate Jackrabbit sports fan. All this is to say, If I am ever wearing blue and yellow, don’t worry – it is Jackrabbit blue and yellow!

    After graduating from SDSU, I went to Lincoln, NE to complete a M.S. degree with Dr. Paul Kononoff. We studied ethanol coproducts, forage feeding strategies, and fiber digestion models. The best thing about living in NE was meeting my wife–more about her later. After studying at University of Nebraska – Lincoln, I headed off to Michigan State University to study with Dr. Barry Bradford. We did quite a wide range of research during my PhD. We investigated Enogen silage, ruminal acidosis, and supplementing B-vitamins as a strategy to improve animal health. I hope to continue investigating all of these topics in my new role, but I’ll keep you all filled in on our team’s progress as it happens.

    My wife, Sydney, and I moved to Wooster just before Christmas. We’re settling in and are quite excited to get to know the area. Both being from the high plains, we’re really enjoying the rolling hills and beautiful scenery. We both love to read and drink good wine, so please when you have the chance, let us know the best book or bottle you’ve experienced recently. I enjoy books about history and consequential leaders, especially their memoirs. My wife enjoys Sci-Fi and fantasy novels. I’m also an avid golfer – I look for, and accept, most any reason to hit the links. If I am not at my desk, a dairy farm, or a meeting…then I’ll be at the course! We also have a shih tzu dog named Oliver who we enjoy cuddling with. 

    I have only one request, if you’re willing to show me your corner of the Ohio dairy industry, please reach out so we can get it on the schedule – just email me at krogstad.6@osu.edu. Or if you’re in the Wooster area and want to grab a lunch or coffee or you just want to introduce yourself, then please shoot me a note. I am eager to get to work for the Ohio dairy industry and I’m most excited to get to know all of you. Time to get to work!


  3. New Faculty Member in Animal Welfare

    Dr. Grazyne Tresoldi, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    I was born in the small town of Campo Ere (which means “fields” in the native indigenous language) in rural Brazil, into a family with deep-rooted ties to food production, particularly in the hospitality and meat industry. However, my passion for companion animals guided me towards a career in veterinary medicine. Along the way, I found my true calling in the field of dairy cattle, realizing that my mission is to enhance the well-being of farm animals and champion sustainable farming practices.

    To pursue this mission, I received additional professional training in animal behavior and welfare, which granted me the privilege of collaborating with producers and institutions worldwide. This journey led me to California in 2012, where I started researching heat stress in dairy cattle, with a strong focus on optimizing cooling strategies for lactating cows. After completing my PhD at the University of California-Davis, I assumed a position as an Assistant Professor at California State University-Chico.

    In this new chapter of my life at OSU, I am particularly interested in examining how Ohio's dairy industry addresses challenges posed by adverse weather conditions and developing strategies to mitigate potential risks in the future. Additionally, I am committed to raising awareness and knowledge about food animal welfare among students and dairy industry allies, equipping them to address challenges in responsible food production. My goal is to inspire positive change in the dairy industry to benefit both animals and those who rely on them for sustenance.

    I moved to Columbus in late December with my spouse, Joao, and our two mutts – Dove Solange and Spike. As a southern Brazilian and granddaughter of a butcher, I enjoy barbecuing regardless of the season. I also like exploring nature, traveling, cross-stitching and photographing animals.


  4. Current 2024 US Dairy Outlook

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

    With the first month of 2024 coming to a completion, hopefully you have had time to review your 2023 profit and losses to prepare your farm for 2024. The U.S. all-milk price for 2023 will be about $20.60/cwt, only the fourth time in 20 years that the all-milk price was over $20/cwt. Unfortunately, the inflation-adjusted milk price was also the fourth lowest in the past 20 years, leading to record low milk-to-feed margins and record high dairy margin coverage (DMC) payments. The milk to feed margin in the DMC program was below the $4/cwt coverage level for 2 months in 2023. The cull cow market though was a bright spot for 2023, with the last part of the year having cull cow prices above $100/cwt. While each farm is different, on average dairy farms will have positive profits per cow for 2023.   

    2024 promises to be its own interesting year for dairy farmers. Current projections are for cow numbers to be about 9.35 million head, slightly lower than 2023 but about 300 lb/cow more milk.  The January USDA dairy forecast has the all-milk price average for the year slightly below 2023 at $20/cwt. The cull cow and bull calf market should stay strong in 2024, with the average fed cattle market prices projected to be 2% higher in 2024 than it was in 2023. Feed costs are also projected to be lower in 2024. The lower average feed cost though will also lower DMC payments for 2024. The current projection is for the milk-to-feed margin for 2024 to be $10.70/cwt, with at least 2 months below the $9.50 margin. When DMC coverage sign-up opens for 2024, even with the higher projected margins covering the maximum amount of milk, a $9.50 margin in tier one will still be a good risk management strategy. There are a lot of unknowns in both the milk and feed markets; your grain farming neighbors are hoping for corn and soybean prices to go up, which will in turn raise dairy feed costs. While the DMC margin forecast shows a more profitable year for dairy farms than 2023, many farms grow the majority of their feeds, and the projected corn production cost is only about $31/acre lower than it was in 2023. With crop input costs not seeing the same reductions as market prices, some producers are going to find 2024 to be a very slim margin year.

    Domestic consumption of dairy products continues to be a bright spot, especially for butter consumption. Domestic demand is shown in Figure 1. While early 2023 fat equivalent milk was below the trend line, the end of 2023 consumption was back to a trend line increase.  The strong demand for butter and milk fat continues to be reflected in the projected Class IV milk price being above Class III. The projected Class IV 2024 forecast is $19.35/cwt, while Class III is only $16.10/cwt. The all-milk price is based on Class III and Class IV milk’s manufactured commodities; in Federal Order 33, approximately 23% of the milk price is based on Class IV milk. This will lead to statistically uniform prices during much of 2024 for Federal Order 33 slightly below Class IV prices. When you work on your 2024 budgets, be sure to consider your actual milk fat and protein production; statistically uniform milk has a fat content of 3.5%, while the average fat content in Federal Order 33 is 4.1%. These additional pounds of milk fat provide a great value, adding about $1.50/cwt to the statistically uniform price for farmers that are producing the average amount of fat in Federal Order 33.

    A graph of milk pricesDescription automatically generatedFigure 1. 

    The export market is expected to grow in 2024 with higher levels of cheese, butterfat products, and whey products. Figure 2 shows the total volume of U.S. dairy exports for 2022 and 2023; total exports are expected to grow by 0.7% in 2024 compared to 2023. Of the 5 major dairy-exporting countries, only the United States and Australia are projected to see growth in their exports. Total milk production is expected to decline in Argentina, New Zealand, and the European Union. U.S. milk protein, whey, and non-fat dry milk are very competitive currently on the world market, with butter prices falling between EU and New Zealand prices.   

     Figure 2. U.S. Dairy exports for 2022 and 2023, from the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

    Even though milk prices are projected to be slightly lower in 2024, there are still opportunities for dairy farm profitability. Using marketing tools to keep the lower feed prices a reality for your purchased feeds, even if grain prices increase, could benefit your operation. Also using tools when profitable Class III or Class IV milk futures are available can help protect your milk check. Figure 3 shows the current milk futures for the year. Both classes are projected to increase during 2024, but Class IV is a much smaller increase. Class III milk futures increase by over $3.00/cwt by the fourth quarter of 2024.

     Figure 3.

  5. Safeguarding Your Herd: How Biosecurity Keeps Salmonella Dublin at Bay

    Drs. Alex Fonseca-MartinezSamantha Locke and Gregory Habing, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University

    Understanding Salmonella Dublin

    Salmonella Dublin is a bacterial pathogen that presents a significant risk to both the dairy industry and human health. While there are many different strains of Salmonella that circulate in livestock, S. Dublin is primarily adapted to cattle and is one of the most commonly identified serotypes from clinically ill animals. Historically, Salmonella Dublin was a herd-health issue in the western United States. In recent years, on-farm outbreaks have occurred throughout the eastern United States and in Canada.

    Infection can manifest in various ways, mainly affecting calves aged one week to twelve weeks. Common symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, unresponsive pneumonia, septic arthritis, and mortality in calves. Diagnosis can be difficult because infected dairy calves, especially older calves, often show symptoms similar to respiratory disease with or without gastrointestinal symptoms. Some calves that survive become long-term, silent carriers that can shed bacteria when stressed. Severe bouts with the disease can also result in unthrifty calves that are less productive in the milking herd or are culled. The primary transmission route for Salmonella is fecal-oral. However, Salmonella Dublin is also known to spread via contaminated colostrum, milk, nasal secretions, and saliva. Establishing effective preventive measures are critical to avoid Dublin introduction to herds or, if Dublin is already present, limit disease spread and resulting negative impacts to animal health and business profitability.

    Biosecurity: The Key to Salmonella Defense

    The encouraging news is that dairy producers can take proactive steps to protect their herds. Biosecurity practices are not a new concept to most, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of face masks, frequent hand washing, isolation in case of symptoms, etc., are just some of the biosecurity measures that come to mind when we remember the practices adopted to avoid contracting and spreading the disease. Many of these practices were familiar to animal producers, who had long been using similar methods to protect their animals from diseases. Washing buckets, bottles, trailers, and the use of vaccines are examples of biosecurity elements commonly used by producers to prevent diseases.

    Biosecurity encompasses a comprehensive set of measures and management strategies designed to protect animals and humans from the introduction and spread of diseases or harmful biological agents. These practices are crucial for food safety, environmental preservation, and business continuity, ensuring the safety of animals and animal products. There is no single solution to prevent Salmonella from entering or spreading on a farm. Biosecurity offers a comprehensive set of ongoing practices aimed at keeping the disease out (bioexclusion) or contained within the farm (biocontainment).

    It's important to recognize that not all farms have the same biosecurity requirements. The level of biosecurity varies based on factors like herd size, farm location, production type, and animal health status. If Salmonella Dublin is present on your farm, establishing excellent biosecurity protocols with the help of your veterinarian, especially in the calving pen and in the rearing of youngstock, will help to control this bacterium. The following elements are part of standard biosecurity procedures to reduce the risk of exposure to Salmonella and other infectious diseases, serving as a minimum requirement for any production facility:

    Personnel Training: Ensure that all farm employees are well-trained in biosecurity practices and understand the importance of disease prevention.

    Controlled Access: Restrict access to your farm by implementing controlled entry points and visitor protocols, reducing the risk of introducing pathogens.

    Animal Housing: If group housing is used in youngstock, utilize an all-in, all-out system to group similarly aged calves together. This can limit the spread of a potential outbreak. When possible, promptly isolate sick calves from the group, providing appropriate care while reducing the chance for animal-to-animal transmission. 

    Animal Health Monitoring: Like other Salmonella, Dublin can cause diarrhea in calves. However, unresponsive respiratory disease and swollen joints can also be signs of Dublin infection. Diagnostic testing may be beneficial to confirm S. Dublin presence and inform treatment options. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment protocols to adopt for your operation. 

    Calf Feeding: In confirmed Dublin-affected herds, feeding waste milk is an exposure risk for calves. Consider pasteurizing colostrum and waste milk before use. Acidification of milk has also been shown to help reduce transmission risk.

    Hygiene Practices: Maintain strict cleaning and disinfection regimens for equipment and animal environments. Consistent cleaning and disinfection in maternity pens are critical to reduce the risk of transmission to calves. Remove and replace soiled bedding regularly and make sure to clean and sanitize equipment such as chains and esophageal tube feeders. In calf barns, clean and disinfect bottles, nipples, and water buckets or troughs daily. Do not power wash facilities or trailers. Power washing may result in aerosolization of S. Dublin and further bacterial spread.

    Organize Workflow: If employees cannot be designated to work with calves only, make sure to work with youngstock before moving to the milking herd. Within calf populations, work from the youngest to oldest animals. If possible, work with ill animals last in order to reduce pathogen spread. Clean and sanitize boots when moving between animal pens, barns, or different age groups.

    Manure Management: Properly manage and dispose of manure to minimize disease transmission. Consider composting or other safe disposal methods.

    Vehicle and Equipment Hygiene: Clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment entering and leaving the farm, including feed trucks and machinery in contact with the herd.

    To enhance biosecurity practices, producers can prepare by:

    By prioritizing action from the BQA Daily Biosecurity and SMS materials based on your current practices and abilities, dairy producers can reduce the risk of introducing and spreading pathogens. This safeguarding ensures the future of their farms, making biosecurity not just a wise investment but a critical necessity.

  6. Precision Livestock Farming for Dairy Producers

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

    This winter, the OSU Extension Digital Ag team is offering a 6-part Zoom series on precision livestock farming. Click here to view the flyer. Programs will begin on Wednesday, January 31st from noon to 1:00 pm and continue for 6 weeks. Each program will feature a different speaker on various precision livestock topics. Three of the topics will be of particular interest to dairy producers. The first on January 31st will focus on utilizing drones and remote imagery to determine forage quality and quantity in pasture and hay fields. Dr. Josh Jackson, Assistant Extension Professor with the University of Kentucky, will be our featured speaker for this presentation. The next program of interest will be on February 28th on using activity and temperature monitoring for dairy calf, heifer, and cow management. The featured speaker for this presentation will be Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension Field Specialist, Dairy Management and Precision Livestock. The last topic while being a beef-focused presentation will be on March 6th featuring new technology for pen-side diagnosis of the pathogen that is causing Bovine Respiratory Disease in your cattle to improve treatment recommendations. The featured speaker for this presentation is Dr. Mohit Verma, Assistant Professor, Agriculture and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. 

    Other programs will feature technology for sheep, swine, and poultry producers.

    To sign up for these programs, register for free at go.osu.edu/plf24

  7. Dairy Judging Team Update

    Ms. Bonnie Ayars, Dairy Program Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University

    On a very cold and early morning in January, dairy judging hopefuls made their way to Fort Worth, Texas to compete in the Stock Show Dairy Judging Contest.  After many delays, they arrived only to be surprised by even colder temperatures. For many, it was their first time visit to Texas where the highways are stacked one on top of the other and the lone star state offers quite a cultural experience.

    That first day allowed very little time for rest, but we did walk the streets of old Fort Worth and watched the longhorns being herded, as well as our evaluation of their appearance, care, and handling.  Admittedly, we felt out of place without fancy boots and big hats.  From there, we ate at the old and rather famed Joe T. Garcias authentic Mexican restaurant.  Then onto the “Cowboy Ranch” rodeo night, which was entertaining enough to keep everyone awake and involved in the atmosphere and pageantry.

    Our first morning included a farm visit and two excellent classes of Brown Swiss cows at Sandy Creek Farm.  They also sell raw milk and a wide variety of dairy products. Actually, we judged and listened to quite an interesting perspective on the dairy business, Texas style. The rest of day included reasons, more touring, and preparation for the contest.

    Contest day followed the next morning and the temperature was at -2 degrees as the first class paraded into the ring.  At least, our reasons were given in a warmer location.  Then the recognition banquet followed with the forecast of snow and wet and freezing rain.  Despite Mother Nature’s attitude, we had a presence with our 2nd place win in the Jersey breed, 5th in Holstein, 4th in reasons, and 5th team overall.

    The five students and their coach attending at pictured below (left to right); Bonnie Ayars (coach), Cole Pond, Lindsay Davis, Rachel Sherman (10th high individual), Grant DeBruin (11th high individual), and Brady McCumons. For each, there were moments of excitement and then the heavy sigh at the Brown Swiss cow class.

    Their adventure continued the next day as we watched some of the dairy shows before heading to the airport with more delays and a return home at 4:00 am the following morning. Travel in the winter is an enigma, but these warriors braved it for the sake of another contest and another time to judge cattle.