U.S. Dairy Cow Slaughter Update – Jan ’15
According to USDA, U.S. dairy cow slaughter of 256,800 head was flat with last year’s slaughter rate and 14.1% higher MOM on a daily average basis, reaching a ten month high. Over a third of the total monthly increase in dairy cow slaughter was experienced in Standard Federal Region 9, which consists of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. Dairy cow slaughter had declined YOY for 14 months in a row prior to Dec ’14. Dairy cow slaughter typically increases slightly MOM from Nov – Dec, having increased by only 0.4% on average over the past ten years. Despite the increase in slaughter rates, the number of dairy cows on farms increased by 22,000 head in Dec ’14 over the Nov ’14 revised figure, to 9,302,000 total head, 100,000 more than December of last year. U.S. dairy cow numbers are key to fundamentally analyzing the milk market for expected supply and price direction. If margins continue to be reduced, producers may continue to increase their dairy cow culling rates in future months.