U.S. Dairy Cow Slaughter Update – Sep ’14
According to USDA, U.S. dairy cow slaughter continues to lag behind last year’s slaughter rate. Aug ’14 U.S. dairy cow slaughter of 228,500 head declined 14.1% from last year, the third largest YOY decline in over four years. Dairy cow slaughter typically increases MOM from Jul – Aug, having increased 10.3% on average over the past ten years; however slaughter declined slightly MOM, decreasing 1.3% from the Jul ’14 slaughter rate. The monthly slaughter rate has declined YOY each of the first eleven months of the ’13-’14 production season, with YTD slaughter down 9.1%. The number of milk cows on farms increased by 4,000 head in Aug ’14 vs. the originally published Jul ’14 milk cow figure, to 9,276,000 total head, the highest figure since Apr ’12 and 78,000 more than nine months ago. U.S. dairy cow numbers are key to fundamentally analyzing the milk market for expected supply and price direction. With strong milk prices and attractive margins, producers will look to continue the trend of decreased dairy cow culling in future months.