The United States Department of Agriculture released dairy cow slaughter numbers for April this afternoon, showing nearly 18,000 fewer cows were culled than in March. That a decline of 6.9%.
But, and it’s a big but, April 2015 slaughter was actually up 13,000 head over April 2014, or a jump of 5.7%.
Year-to-date, 38,900 more dairy cows met their hamburger maker in 2015 than last year, an increase of 4%.
Given tighter milk-to-fee margins, it seems that farmers are continuing to milk cows for everything they are worth if there is a margin over feed costs. But with cull cow prices exceeding $100/cwt in some part of the country, any low-producing or problem cow becomes a profitable culling candidate.
You can read the full livestock slaughter report for April here.