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September 23, 2016

Dairy Cow Culling Steady

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

At first blush, it appears dairy cow culling had a sharp uptick in August, with 245,000 dairy cows going to slaughter in federally inspected plants.

But the gross number does not take into account business days. August had 23 business days compared to just 20 days in July and 21 days in August 2015. When business days are adjusted, the cow kill is virtually the same:  August 2016—10,635; July 2016;—10,665; August 2015: 10,733.

Year-to-date numbers are also very similar, reports the United States Department of Agriculture. This year, 1.907 million head have been sent to slaughter through August. That’s just 13,500 head less than for the same period last year.

Those lower cull numbers are reflected in the August milk production report, also released this week. Dairy cow numbers were up an astounding 45,000 head over a year ago, and 16,000 head over July. That means growing inventory numbers and lower near-term prices, say University of Wisconsin dairy economists Bob Cropp and Mark Stephenson.

Read the full livestock slaughter report here.