U.S. Dairy Cow Slaughter Update – Apr ’15
According to USDA, Mar ’15 U.S. dairy cow slaughter of 260,700 head was up 6.1% YOY but down 2.8% MOM on a daily average basis as slaughter rates continue to decline seasonally. The YOY increase in dairy cow slaughter was the largest experienced in the past 23 months. The majority of the monthly YOY increase in dairy cow slaughter was experienced in Standard Federal Region 6, consisting of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, followed by Standard Federal Region 9, which consists of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada. The increase in dairy cow slaughter contributed to the number of dairy cows on farms declining MOM for only the second time in the last 17 months in Mar ’15. The U.S. milk cow herd decreased by 5,000 head in Mar ’15 vs. the Feb ’15 revised figure to 9,301,000 total head. Despite the MOM decline, the U.S. milk cow herd remains 78,000 head more than March 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.