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Dairy Cow Culling Hits the Breaks

April 25, 2014
By: Jim Dickrell, Dairy Today Editor

Some 28,000 fewer dairy cows were sent through federally inspected slaughter plants in March compared to year-earlier levels, the United States Department of Agriculture reports this week.

Higher milk prices and tight replacement numbers are likely causing farmers to milk cows longer and cull less heavily. Lower feed prices might also have something to do with it.

USDA says 246,000 dairy cows were slaughtered last month compared to 274,000 in March 2013. That’s a 10.2% decline.

March 2014 numbers were 9,000 head higher than February 2014. But there was one more business day in March than February, so the cull per day level was roughly the same.

Year-to-date, 77,000 fewer dairy cows have been sent to slaughter than in 2013, a 9.3% decline.

Read the full USDA report here

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