Further decline in the all-milk price caused the March milk-feed price ratio to drop 0.15 points to 2.77, according to the USDA’s “Agricultural Prices” report released March 30.
During March, the all-milk price used to calculate the ratio declined to $12.80 per hundredweight — 70 cents less than February and $2.80 less than a year ago.
Feed prices were mixed — corn and soybeans both declined while alfalfa hay rose slightly. Corn was down just a penny per bushel to $2.01 while soybeans fell 12 cents to $5.55. Meanwhile, baled alfalfa hay climbed 80 cents to $100 per ton. One year ago, the prices of corn, soybeans and baled alfalfa hay stood at $2.02, $5.95 and $98.60, respectively.
March’s milk-feed ratio was 0.15 points lower than the revised February ratio of 2.92 (originally reported as 2.99) and 0.58 points lower than the same month one year earlier. Also revised in the report were the price of corn and soybeans used in the February ratio. Corn was revised up 1 cent to $2.02 per bushel. Soybeans were revised down a penny to $5.67 per bushel.
The milk-feed ratio represents the pounds of 16-percent mixed dairy feed equal in value to 1 pound of whole milk. Therefore, with a 2.77 ratio in March, a dairy producer could buy 2.77 pounds of feed for every 1 pound of milk sold.
Whenever the ratio meets or exceeds 3.0, it is considered profitable to buy feed and produce milk.