With December's figures, the 2013 total was estimated at 3.125 million head, 23,400 more than 2012’s total of 3.102 million.
Before 2012, dairy cow slaughter topped 3 million only twice: in 1986, at 3.595 million (whole herd buy-out program); and 1996, at 3.037 million.
Early signs indicate 2014 won't reach that number. Through the first two weeks of the year, cow culling was already 13,000 behind the first two weeks of 2013.
February FMMO Class I price a record high
The February 2014 federal order Class I base milk price is a record high $22.02/cwt., up 54¢ from January 2014 and $3.81 more than February 2013. The previous high was $21.78/cwt., in September 2011.
The February increase was powered by cheese, nonfat dry milk and dry whey. The two-week AMS-surveyed cheese price used in the price formula averaged $2.0308/lb., up 17.3¢, with nonfat dry milk averaging $2.0270/lb., up 8.5¢. Dry whey averaged 59.39¢/lb., up 2.7¢. The butter price used in calculating the Class I value averaged $1.5939/lb., down 4.7¢ from January.
National Dairy Products Sales Report weekly highlights
USDA’s weekly National Dairy Products Sales Report indicated Grade AA butter prices averaged $1.62/lb. for the week ending Jan. 18, up 5.4¢ from the previous week.
U.S. 40-lb. block cheddar cheese averaged $2.07/lb., up 6.8¢ from the previous week. The price for 500-lb. cheddar barrels, adjusted to 38% moisture, averaged $2.04/lb., up 9.3¢.
USDA Extra Grade dry whey averaged 59.5¢/lb., up 0.2¢.
USDA Extra Grade nonfat dry milk averaged $2.04/lb., up 2.0¢ from the previous week.