U.S. Dairy Cow Slaughter Update – Feb ’15
According to USDA, Jan ’15 U.S. dairy cow slaughter of 275,400 head was up 1.9% YOY and 7.2% MOM on a daily average basis. The YOY increase in dairy cow slaughter was the first experienced in the past 16 months. The MOM increase was also slightly higher than the ten year average December – January increase in dairy cow slaughter of 6.3%. 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. Despite the increase in slaughter rates, the number of dairy cows on farms increased by 9,000 head in Jan ’15 over the Dec ’14 revised figure, to 9,308,000 total head, 96,000 more than January 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 at reduced rates, producers may continue to increase their dairy cow culling rates in future months.