A record-high monthly average milk price offset small gains in feed prices, pushing the preliminary February 2014 milk-feed price ratio to its highest level in more than six years. At 2.55, the index is up from 2.46 in January 2014 and 1.52 in February 2013, according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report. It's the seventh consecutive monthly increase, and the highest since January 2008.
The index is based on the current milk price in relationship to feed prices for a ration of 51% corn, 8% soybeans and 41% alfalfa hay.
The February 2014 U.S. average all-milk price was $24.70/cwt., a new record high, and compares to $23.50/cwt. in January 2014 and $19.50/cwt. in February 2013.
Four states had average all-milk price above $26/cwt. in February, led by Florida, at $27.10/cwt. Others were Virginia ($26.90); Oregon ($26.50); and Pennsylvania ($26.10). Average prices in another nine states topped $25/cwt.
February corn, at $4.47/bushel, was up 5¢ from January, but $2.57 less than February 2013.
February 2014 soybeans averaged $13.10/bushel, up 20¢ from January, but down $1.50 from February 2013.
Alfalfa hay averaged $188/ton in February, up $3 from January 2014, but $30 less than February 2013.
Cull cow prices surge above $90/cwt.
Estimated U.S. February 2014 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) are also a record high, averaging $93.60/cwt., according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report. The average is up $5.30/cwt. from January’s revised estimate and $11.80/cwt. more than February 2013. It's likely the highest monthly average ever. At that price, a 1,200-lb. cull cow is worth $1,123.