The United States Department of Agriculture reported this afternoon that dairy cow culling remained strong in March, up some 6% over March 2014. That number is a bit misleading, however, because there was one more kill day in March this year.
On a daily basis, the dairy cow slaughter numbers were up 150 in March 2015 over year-earlier levels, or 1.2%.
Some 18,000 more head were sent to slaughter in March 2015 than in February. But here again, there were two more working days in March 2015. As a result, the dairy slaughter rate in March was actually 265 head less than in February.
Perhaps most important, year-to-date dairy cow slaughter is up nearly 26,000 head, or 3.4%. To date, 778,400 dairy cows have been processed through federally inspected plants.
Dairy Today Dollars and Sense columnists are reporting extremely good cull cow prices. Gerald Fieser, Deland, Fla., reports rail prices of $225 to $235/cwt. Carcass prices in California hover around $185/cwt, says Katrina Curti Rainey, Tulare. And Shelly Dickinson, Loveland, Colo., reports cull cows commanding $106 to $128/cwt live weight.
You can read the full USDA red meat slaughter report here.