U.S. Dairy Cow Slaughter Update – Mar ’15
According to USDA, Feb ’15 U.S. dairy cow slaughter of 242,300 head was up 2.4% YOY but down 2.6% MOM on a daily average basis. The YOY increase in dairy cow slaughter was the largest experienced in the past 17 months. The majority of the monthly YOY increase in dairy cow slaughter was experienced in Standard Federal Region 9, which consists of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. The MOM decline was greater than the ten year average January – February decline in dairy cow slaughter of 1.0%. Despite the increase in slaughter rates, the number of dairy cows on farms increased by 3,000 head in Feb ’15 over the Jan ’15 revised figure, to 9,312,000 total head, 100,000 more than February 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.