April dairy cull cow slaughter hits 10-month low

USDA estimated 229,800 culled dairy cows were slaughtered under federal inspection in April 2014, down 38,600 from April 2013, and 15,900 less than March 2014. It's the lowest monthly total June 2013.

January-April 2014 slaughter is estimated at 982,800 head, down 116,100 from the same period in 2013.


Weekly dairy cow slaughter under federal inspection

Week ending May 10: 48,800 head

Year-to-date (YTD) 2014: 1,075,900 head

YTD compared to same period 2013: -123,400 head

Highlights: For the week, 31% came from USDA Zone 5 (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH & WI); 24% came from USDA Zone 9 (AZ, CA, HI & NV).

Source: USDA Weekly Cow Slaughter Report


Cheese jumps 6¢

Daily CME Cash Trading on Thursday, May 22, 2014











Cheddar barrels



Cheddar blocks



NFDM Grade A



Butter Grade AA




Cold storage inventories 

April 30 butter stocks totaled 174.15 million lbs., down 3% from March 31, and 44% less than April 2013, according to USDA’s Cold Storage report, released May 22.

Total natural cheese stocks, at 1.04 billion lbs., were up 2% from March, but down 8% from April 2013. American cheese, at 648.1 million lbs., was up 1% from March, but 7% less than a year earlier.

Eric Meyer, HighGround Dairy, termed the report bullish for butter and neutral for cheese vs. market expectations.

FCStone’s Dave Kurzawski said the report was extremely bullish for butter prices, and slightly bearish on cheese.


New Holland Sales Stables

Dairy replacement sales results from New Holland, Pa. on May 21:

Compared to last week, fresh cows were higher on better quality offerings.

Demand was moderate for cows. Springing heifers, short-bred heifers, and open

heifers sold generally steady. Demand was good on an active trade.

Wednesday's supply included 115 fresh milking cows, 07 short-bred cows, 44

springing cows, 18 short-bred heifers, 49 springing heifers, 86 open heifers,

and 13 bulls. Prices are for Holsteins on a per-head basis unless otherwise noted.


Fresh Cows

Supreme: 2400-2900

Approved: 2000-2300

Medium: 1500-1850

Common: 1125-1450


Short bred cows (1-3 months)

Approved: 2000-2200


Springing cows (bred 7-9 months)

Supreme: 2000-2050

Approved: 1850-1950

Medium: 1450-1750

Common: 1250-1400


Springing heifers (7-9 months)

Supreme: 2200-2500

Approved: 1750-2100

Medium: 1400-1700

Common: 1150-1375


Bred heifers (4-6 months)      

Supreme: 1925-2020

Approved: 1775-1775

Medium: 1575-1650

Common: 1075-1100


Short bred heifers (1-3 months)

Supreme: 1675-1675

Medium: 1325-1375

Common: 875-1150


Open Heifers

600-900 lbs

Approved: 825-925


(900-1200 lbs.)

Approved: 1275-1350

Medium: 1050-1225


April ag labor wage rates up slightly

U.S. farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $12.00/hour during the April 2014 reference week (April 6-12, 2014), up 1% from the comparable week a year earlier, according to the USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service.

• Field workers received an average of $11.01/hour, an increase of 1%.

• Livestock workers earned $11.35/hour, down 10¢.

• The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $11.11/hour, was up 4¢.

Hired laborers worked an average of 40.2 hours during the April 2014 reference week, compared with 40.5 hours worked a year earlier.

For the full report, including regional breakdowns, click here.