Prices for U.S. dairy cows – both for herd replacements and the beef market – were up in January, according to USDA’s latest Ag Prices report, released Jan. 31.

U.S. quarterly replacement dairy cow prices averaged $1,440/head in January, up $30/head from October 2013 and $70 more than January 2013.

Average prices ranged from a high of $1,650/head in Michigan to a low of $1,280 in Missouri.

Nearly all major dairy states recorded small price increases compared to the pervious quarter, with prices unchanged in Arizona, California, Texas.

Prices surpassed $1,500/head in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Prices were somewhat lower in much of the West, averaging $1,400/head or less in California, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Utah and Washington.


Cull cow prices start year higher

Meanwhile, January 2014 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) jumped, averaging $87.30/cwt. The average is up $3.90/cwt. from December’s revised estimate and $8.20/cwt. more than January 2013. It's the highest monthly average since May 2012.

The preliminary 2013 average cull cow price was $81.38/cwt., compared to $80.95/cwt. for 2012.

Source: USDA/NASS Ag Prices report, Jan. 31, 2014