USDA reports dairy cow slaughter was up 20,000 head in April 2010 compared to a year ago, with 235,000 cows heading to burger heaven. That's a 9% bump over last year.
Amazingly, milk production
still grew 1.5% in April despite the fact cow numbers are down 186,000 head compared to last year. More milk per cow, at about 2 lb./day, is the reason.
Year-to-date, however, culling still lags last year by 32,000 head. But remember, last year was heavy with Cooperatives Working Together herd dispersals. Through April, 946,000 dairy cows have been slaughtered through Federally-inspected plants compared to 978,000 head a year ago.
In addition, western states appear to have stopped wholesale culling. On a weekly basis, they've sent about 6% fewer cows to slaughter than a year ago for the week ending May 8. Eastern states have picked up the slack, with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin culling 21% more cattle for week ending May 8 than they did last year.
For the complete slaughter report, click her