Not since the end of the USDA's Whole Herd Buyout Program has dairy cow culling surpassed that of their beef cow cousins. However, that is exactly what happened in 2015 as beef producers retained cows to expand herds. Some industry insiders suggest this expansion will be a two- to four-year process.
Of all cull cows last year, 57 percent were dairy cows . . . while 43 percent were beef breeds. Granted, dairy farmers stepped up culling in response to lower milk prices and high beef values. However, dairy cows sent to packing plants grew only 5 percent when compared to the 29-year average. That means beef breed culling experienced a rather large decline.
From the beef cow perspective, culling fell 13 percent when compared to the same 29-year average. That number becomes even more striking when comparing to just last year . . . culling was off 29 percent. This represented a record low over the past three decades.
(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
February 8, 2016