With Class III milk prices reaching $17.55 per hundredweight — the highest levels since January 2015 — heifer prices have begun to show a little bit of life. This July, replacement prices pushed $100 higher per head to reach $1,240.

While that figure stood $100 higher than the January and April 2019 trough of $1,140, those values remained $400 lower than April 2017. That’s when springing heifers fetched $1,640 a piece, reported USDA in its July 2019 Agricultural Prices report.

To put the $1,240 figure into greater perspective . . . not even during the deep dairy recession of 2009 did replacement values fall this far. In those days, replacement prices bottomed out at $1,240. When adjusting for inflation, that price point is really $1,420.

There is no doubt that the dismal dairy economy has directly contributed to this situation. With milk prices not covering the cost of production, dairy farmers don’t need any more mouths to feed. Plus, heifer inventories have remained strong due to improved reproduction rates and sexed semen.

Here are the prevailing prices in major dairy states in July 2019:

• $1,350 — Arizona and Texas

• $1,300 — California, Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon

• $1,260 — Georgia

• $1,250 — Michigan, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington

• $1,220 — Florida

• $1,210 — Wisconsin

• $1,200 — Colorado and Illinois

• $1,180 — Iowa and New York

• $1,170 — South Dakota

• $1,160 — Pennsylvania

• $1,150 — Indiana

• $1,100 — Minnesota and Utah

• $1,070 — Virginia

• $1,050 — Ohio

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2019
August 5, 2019
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