Replacement Heifer Prices are Shooting Up
After years in the doldrums, Holstein springer values finally are approaching cost of production in many U.S. markets. The last month saw healthy gains in every monitored market area except Wisconsin – a state that continues to see erosion in dairy cow numbers. Meanwhile, the first weeks of 2023 have been marked with massive culling of mature dairy cows. In the first four weeks of January, nearly 273,000 dairy cows were slaughtered. Today’s cow-culling rates are comparable only to the uncertainty of 2021, and the mid-1980s, when the U.S. government offered a whole-herd buy-out program. Current trade in Holstein heifer calves is light, but should pick up soon with demand for youth project calves.
March 14, 2023