The United States Department of Agriculture reports this week that 187,000 more cows were sent to slaughter through federally-inspected plants in 2012 than 2011, a 6.4% increase. But the numbers come as little surprise, given strong cull cow prices and drought-fueled feed prices.
Region 6, which encompasses New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, sent a total of 340,000 cattle to slaughter in 2012, up 131,000 over 20111. That’s a 63% increase over the prior year—and the region that saw the greatest increase in culling last year.
Region 9, which includes California and Arizona, saw culling jump 41,000 head. That’s just a five percent increase, and less than the national average.
Some regions, such as Regions 2 and 5, actually saw less culling than 2011. Region 2 encompasses New York and New Jersey. Culling there was down 15.6% in 2012 compared to 2011. Region 5, which is essentially the Midwest from Ohio through Minnesota, saw 953,000 cows culled in 2012, but that’s 50,000 less 2011 (and a 5% decrease).
The full report can be read here.