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Dairy farmers culled nearly 280,000 cows in August

Dairy farmers culled nearly 280,000 cows in August, the United States Department of Agriculture  reported this afternoon in its monthly Livestock Slaughter report. That’s a 40,000 cow jump from July, and 14,000 more cows than a year ago. Because August 2018 had two more “kill” days than July 2018, the increase was up 6.5% on a daily percentage. The daily kill percentage from a year ago was up 5.3%. These increases come with a twist. USDA estimates dairy cow numbers were down 4,000 head from a year ago, but up 5,000 head from July. The differences in slaughter rate and cows-in-milk are likely being made up from a large supply of fresh, first-calf heifers coming into milking strings. Yesterday’s milk production report showed milk up 1.4% from a year ago, largely on the strength of more milk per cow. Year-to-date, the dairy cow kill is 101,400 head higher than 2017. That’s a percentage increase of 5.1%.


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