A penny per hundredweight trumps a dollar per cow in 2016
For the country’s dairy farmers, there doesn’t appear to be anything “sweet” to anticipate in ‘16. On the contrary, slimming down production costs is essential. With a 4-year average total cost of production of $19.66 – which is already adjusted for bull calf and cull cow income –there is a yawning chasm between production costs and milk income per cwt.
Where to start slimming? First, let’s determine “what is”. What are the big players in the list of costs?
How is your time best spent? Trying to cut expenses by a dollar per cow or a penny per hundredweight? For every hundred cows you milk, you will save $100 for every dollar you cut in production costs per cow. If each of those cows are putting 24,000 lbs. of milk in the tank each year, finding one cent per cwt in savings will save $240 per year. A penny per cwt. trumps a dollar per cow in 2016.
Like 2016, 2015 was not a kind year for many Ohio farms. The Class III milk price averaged $15.80 per hundredweight (cwt). The Federal Order 33 Producer Price Differential added another 44 cents per cwt to the price received by farmers shipping Grade A milk (the majority of Ohio milk is Grade A,) resulting in an average statistical uniform price of $16.24 for the year.
Exactly two years ago, we knew we were heading into a down cycle in the dairy industry following the major high of 2014.
How well each farm would fare through the coming years of substantially lower milk prices would be heavily influenced by the financial health of the farm going in. Cash or near-cash reserves would be tapped.