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Dairy Cow Culling Skyrockets

September 21, 2012
By: Jim Dickrell, Dairy Today Editor

Dairy cow culling, likely driven by tight feed supplies and high feed costs, jumped substantially in August, up 30,000 head over a year ago and 36,000 head over July. The percentage increases are even more dramatic—up 12% over a year ago and up 15% over July.

The United States Department of Agriculture released the figures this morning, based on cow through-put via federally inspected slaughter plants. Year-to-date, the dairy cow kill is up 128,000 head, or 6.7%.

Culling was up across the country, but Region 6, which includes New Mexico and Texas, reported the biggest increase, up 25.6% over July. Region 9—Arizona, California and Nevada—reported an increase in culling of 19.4%. The Southeast was up 15.3%. The Midwest reported the largest numerical increase over July of 10,000 head—or 13.2%.

The August milk production report, which was released Wednesday of this week, shows the U.S. is still milking an estimated 9.22 million cows, down 6,000 head from July but still 20,000 more than a year ago.

The complete August slaughter report can be read here.

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