group of heifers Soon-to-calve dairy replacement prices were $10 shy of an even $2,000 per head in USDA's latest Agricultural Prices published this January. The $1,990 price was a quoted average for the nation's leading 23 dairy states. Among that group, 16 states had lower replacement prices when compared to last October, four were even and three actually went up.

That $1,990 value was off 6.1 percent from October 2014's $2,120, which was $100 over the peak of the previous boom in 2007. Even though the price was down, the $1,990 figure remains 37 percent higher from last January's $1,440 per head.

Among the leading dairy states, California experienced the largest downturn in replacement values, falling by $400 per head from October 2014's $2,200. That $1,800 figure was the lowest in the country. Meanwhile, Wisconsin held rather steady, only slipping $60 to $2,160 per head. That price was the third highest in the U.S. with Michigan on top at $2,200 followed closely by Florida at $2,170.

Those states that saw upticks in prices (when compared to October 2014) were Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Meanwhile, Kansas, Pennsylvania and Texas held their own.

Strong replacement values put a damper on female dairy exports. In 2014, only 33,000 head were exported which represented a 50 percent reduction from the prior year's shipment of 67,000 heifers.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
February 9, 2015

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