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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Sioux County Dairy Board has scholarships available for high school seniors and college students. The deadline for both scholarships is May 1, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact


Rock Valley Hay Auction for Monday, Apr 24 2017

Receipts:  19 loads    Last Week:  24 loads    Year Ago:   19 Loads

Compared to last week:  Market was mostly steady on light offerings.  This report will not be available until November as this was the last Monday sale until November. Thursday sales continue throughout the year.

Alfalfa:  Good:  Large Squares, 2 loads 100.00-107.50.  Fair:  Large Squares, 1 load 85.00; Large Rounds, 7 loads 70.00-82.50.

Grass:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 75.00; Large Rounds, 4 loads 767.50-77.50.  Fair: Large Rounds, 2 loads 57.50-60.00.

Alfalfa/Grass:  Good:  Large Squares, 1 load 77.50.  Fair:  Large Rounds, 1 load 62.50.

Oat Hay:  None.

Straw:  None.

Corn Stalks:  None.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture report this week, dairy cow culling was up nearly 8,900 head from March of 2016. The USDA reported that 271,000 dairy cows were harvested through federally inspected plants in March. That’s up nearly 18,000 head over February; However, March had three more business days than February.

The Midwest area, including Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska saw 5,700 dairy cows go to slaughter in March, while the first quarter slaughter totaled 18,400 head.


I enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the planning for 2017-18 Dairy Iowa steering committee last week. The discussion resulted in three action items that will be meaningful to the dairymen of Iowa. Including: Telling Iowa’s dairy story with social media training; conducting a comparison of benefits to processors building/expanding in the Midwest plus the states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana; and conducting business planning educational programs. All of these will be planned for the next 12-18 months.

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Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) provides an estimate of the quality, measured as Relative Feed Value (RFV), for the first cutting alfalfa standing in the field. Climatic variations impact alfalfa growth and development making it impossible to use a calendar date each spring to best determine when to harvest the first crop. The PEAQ method uses alfalfa stand height and maturity stage to estimate the RFV. It is most appropriate for good stands of pure alfalfa with healthy growth.

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National Agriculture Statistics Service reports milk production in the 23 major States during March totaled 17.5 billion pounds, up 1.8 percent from March 2016. February revised production at 15.6 billion pounds, was down 1.2 percent from February 2016. However, production was 2.3 percent above last year after adjusting for the leap year. The February revision represented a decrease of 27 million pounds or 0.2 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

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In his March Dairy Budget report UNL Educator Robert Tigner notes returns to management for milk produced in the Central milk market order declined 42 cents/cwt in March 2017 but were still positive at $1.57/cwt. The largest decline was in income with a drop of protein income. As you may know the protein price dropped during March, -1.31555/cwt of 20,000 pound cows, but the PPD increased by $0.48/cwt. Feed costs were slightly lower but less than 1 cents/cwt. The Central Order March butterfat price was virtually the same as Februarys, down less than 1 cents per pound.

His detailed report can found by clicking Copy of March-dairy budget