What is in this article?:
- Keep dairy cows on full rations despite high corn prices
- Still a good buy
• Dairy farmers can't afford to take cows off feed now because it takes too long to bring them back into full production.
• Corn is still a good buy for producers today.
Still a good buy
Corn is still a good buy for producers today, Hutjens said. Sesame, a software program developed by The Ohio State University, evaluates 30 different feedstuffs in the Midwest. It compares energy, protein forms and fiber sources to come up with a commonality that says what the feedstuff is worth.
"Believe it or not, corn is under-priced," he said. "We can afford to pay more than we are now when you look at all the other energy sources available. We can pay over $8 a bushel, and it's still a better buy than looking at most alternative feedstuffs, with the exception of corn silage and distillers grains."
Corn distillers grains need to be on the radar screen for dairy producers along with corn gluten feed, Hutjens said. Both of these feedstuffs are under-priced at this point. In fact, distillers grain is under-priced by nearly $100/ton.
"The big question producers want answered is how much distillers grain can they feed," he said. "I typically advise five pounds of distillers grains dry matter per cow per day. It ends up being about 10 percent of the ration, and that prices out very economically."
While the price of corn is projected to remain very high through the summer months, the price of milk is projected to fall through the end of the calendar year. Hutjens suggests using Sesame to find the breakeven price at full feed.
"High producing cows fed correctly will make money in 2011 with $7+ bushel corn," he said.