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Replacement cow prices rise to 9-year high

Tightening cow and heifer numbers pushed average prices for U.S. replacement dairy cows to a nine-year high in January, according to latest USDA quarterly estimates. Meanwhile, 2023 annual average cull cow prices were the highest since 2015.

U.S. replacement dairy cow prices averaged $1,890 per head in January 2024, up $40 (2%) from October 2023 and up $170 (10%) from January 2023. While the highest since January 2015, quarterly average prices were still about 11% below the last peak of $2,120 per head in October 2014.

The USDA estimates are based on quarterly surveys (January, April, July and October) of dairy farmers in 24 major dairy states, as well as an annual survey (February) in all states. The prices reflect those paid or received for cows that have had at least one calf and are sold for replacement purposes, not as cull cows. The report does not summarize auction market prices.

Dave Natzke

February 2, 2024



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