From the Merced Sun-Star:

Dairymen struggling to recover from low milk prices in 2009 and 2010 have been reeling from high feed prices that threaten to run many out of the business.

"Feed prices are extraordinarily high, the second-highest ever, after the spring of 2008," said Joel Karlin, a market analyst for Western Milling in Goshen in Tulare County.

Those in the know point the finger directly at high corn prices as the cause of escalating feed prices. Corn, which is a key ingredient in the dairy ration, has gone from $176 a ton in July to $276 a ton this month, Karlin said. That's a 57 percent increase.

Dairies depend on three types of feed. Half is forage, which is usually alfalfa hay and corn silage. The other half is divided between corn and protein meal, usually canola or soybean meal.

Dairies coping with high cost of feed