Slaughter of cull dairy cows crept back down in April after climbing in March.

According to the “Livestock Slaughter” report by the USDA on Thursday, 268,000 dairy cows were slaughtered under federal inspection in April – down 6,000 head from March but up 28,000 head from April 2012.

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In January, the number of slaughtered dairy cows reached 297,000 -- the highest monthly slaughter figure since 1986. This high cull rate came as no surprise, since many farms have had to deal with high feed cost and low profitability.