Cows eating hay at bunk.
April 21, 2016

March Dairy Cow Culling Up, Sort Of

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

The United States Department of Agriculture reported that 261, 800 dairy cattle were slaughtered through federally inspected plants in March. That’s up 5,400 head over February and 1,100 head over March 2015.

But the raw numbers are deceiving since there were 23 business days in March 2016, 21 business days in February and 22 business days in March 2015.  On a daily basis, the cull rate was actually the highest in February, at 12,210 cows slaughtered. The March 2015 rate was 11,500 cows per day, and the lowest kill was in March, 2016, at 11,387 head.

This might at least partially account for the higher number of dairy cows reported on U.S. dairy farms by USDA yesterday, with March 2016 numbers up 10,000 head over February and 14,000 head over March 2015.

Year-to-date, culling is running just 5,300 head higher than last year, or 0.6%.

You can read the full report here.