California Q4 milk production costs lower

California 2013 fourth quarter (Q4) statewide weighted average total milk production costs were down $1.18/cwt. (-6.4%) compared to the same quarter in 2012, according to the Dairy Marketing Branch of the California Department of Food & Agriculture. Including an allowance for return on management and investment, total costs were down $1.07/cwt. (-5.3%).

Most of the declining costs can be attributed to feed. Total feed costs averaged $11.25/cwt. in Q4 2013, down 8.1% from a year earlier. Feed costs represented 64.8% of total costs.

Compared to a year earlier, Q4 2013 average hired labor costs were up 1¢/cwt., to $1.61; and replacement costs were down 18¢/cwt., to $1.07. Total operating costs were $2.90/cwt., down 1% from a year earlier.

On a per-cow basis, total costs per month averaged $322.83, down $13 from Q4 2012 and down 48¢ from Q3 2013.

Looking at regional differences, the North Coast remains the most expensive region to produce milk, with total feed costs running 49% higher than the statewide average. North Valley average feed costs for the quarter were the lowest, at $11.04/cwt.

To see the full report, click here.


Farm Bill dairy program webinar is March 26

Research from a dairy economist with Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will be featured in

A webinar designed to offer dairy producers training on how the new dairy title in the 2014 Farm Bill will impact their agricultural businesses will be held March 26, 8-9 a.m.

The webinar, “Introduction and Strategic Implementation of the Dairy Producer Margin Protection Program,” will be presented by John Newton, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The webinar will introduce provisions of the new dairy margin protection program, and then will demonstrate that by adjusting margin program choices each year, dairy producers may maximize the benefits of coverage and protect against severe downturns in milk prices, rising livestock feed prices or a combination of both, organizers said.

Registration for the event is free, however, pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, go to


Turlock Livestock Auction Yard

Dairy replacement sales results from Turlock, Calif., on March 21:


#1 Hol Springers: $1800-$2275

#2 Hol Springers: $1400-$1775

# 1 Jer Springers: $1500-$1925

# 1 Jer x Springers: $1200-$2225


Holstein Bred Heifers

Bred 5-6 mos.: $1800-$1910

Bred 1-4 mos.: $1500-$1725


Holstein Open Heifers

54 Hd. 900 lbs. @ $1225

24 Hd. 763 lbs. @ $1175

20 Hd. 650 lbs. @ $920

14 Hd. 554 lbs. @ $885


Final WIC rule excludes 2% milk

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) has conducted further analysis of the final changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) announced last month by USDA. Reduced-fat or 2% milk is now excluded from the program unless the recipient can qualify for a specific health exemption.

USDA’s interim final rule from 2007 allowed children older than 24 months and women to choose either 2% reduced-fat milk or 1% low-fat or nonfat milks. With this change, only low-fat or nonfat milk will be the standard issue. Whole milk will still be allowed for infants under 2 years of age (12-23 months).

This rule is effective May 5. For more details and a chart of USDA’s WIC Food Package, read IDFA Summary of WIC Final Rule.