Prices for U.S. dairy cows – both for the beef market and as herd replacements – surged in April, according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report.

In the case of cull cows, prices continue to set new record highs seemingly every month. Estimated U.S. April 2014 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) averaged $104.00/cwt. The average is up $2.000/cwt. from March’s revised estimate, and $21.60/cwt. more than April 2013. At that price, a 1,300-lb. cull cow is worth $1,352..

Year-to-date, the 2014 average cull cow price is $97.43/cwt. The preliminary 2013 average cull cow price was $82.29/cwt., compared to $80.95/cwt. for 2012.

 Meanwhile, replacement dairy cow prices jumped to levels not seen since 2008. U.S. quarterly replacement dairy cow prices averaged $1,810/head in April, up $370/head from January. April 2013 prices are not available due to budget sequestration, which limited USDA survey capabilities much of last year.

Average prices ranged from a high of $2,000/head in Arizona and Colorado, to a low of $1,660 in New Mexico. Largest quarterly increases were in Idaho, up $550, to $1,950/head; and Arizona and California, up $500/head.

The last time the U.S. average replacement cow price topped $1,800 was in October 2008. The average has been between $1,240-$1,480 for 20 consecutive quarters.

 

Quarterly average replacement dairy cow prices, April 2014 ($/head)

State

April 2014

Jan. 2014

Change

Arizona

2,000

1,500

500

California

1,800

1,300

500

Colorado

2,000

1,540

460

Florida

1,800

1,560

240

Idaho

1,950

1,400

550

Illinois

1,750

1,500

250

Indiana

1,750

1,500

250

Iowa

1,850

1,450

400

Kansas

1,750

1,400

350

Michigan

1,850

1,650

200

Minnesota

1,830

1,410

420

Missouri

1,750

1,280

470

New Mexico

1,660

1,450

210

New York

1,700

1,430

270

Ohio

1,700

1,450

250

Oregon

1,800

1,350

450

Pennsylvania

1,750

1,500

250

Texas

1,800

1,450

350

Utah

1,750

1,350

400

Vermont

1,760

1,570

190

Virginia

1,770

1,520

250

Washington

1,700

1,350

350

Wisconsin

1,900

1,570

330

U.S.

1,810

1,440

370

Source: USDA NASS Ag Prices report, April 30, 2014