USDA released its semi-annual Cattle report on Jan. 31, including survey-based estimates of U.S. dairy cows, replacement heifers and heifers expected to calve within the next year. Continued moderate feed prices and higher milk prices raise the expectation of a U.S. dairy herd expansion this year. However, U.S. dairy farmers started the year with about the same number of cows and replacement heifers as a year ago. Read more ...

In a separate Ag Prices report, prices for U.S. dairy cows – both for herd replacements and the beef market – were up in January. 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. January 2014 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) jumped, averaging $87.30/cwt. Read more …