Cow prices dip as culling remains higher

Following the trend in the beef market, estimated U.S. November 2015 cull cow prices (beef and dairy combined) declined to the lowest level in two years, according to the USDA/NASS Ag Prices report.

November prices averaged $82.00/cwt., down $7.50/cwt. from October and $33.00/cwt. less than November 2014. It represents the lowest monthly average since November 2013.

Even with the decline, 2015 U.S. cull prices will average similar to 2014. Through the first 11 months of 2015, the cull cow price has averaged $106.77/cwt., compared to $107.61/cwt. for the same period a year ago.

Although final 2015 figures aren't in, dairy cow slaughter under federal inspection will end the year approximately 100,000 head more than 2014. For the week ending Dec. 19, weekly slaughter topped 60,000 head for a second consecutive week, the first time that's happened since March 2015.

Weekly cull cow slaughter under federal inspection

Week ending Dec. 19

60,300

Year-to-date (YTD)

2.86 million

YTD compared to same period in 2014

+101,000

Weekly regional highlights (% of total)

Zone 3 (DE, MD, PA, VA & WV)

18%

Zone 5 (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH & WI)

25%

Zone 9 (AZ, CA, HI & NV)

28%

USDA Weekly Cow Slaughter Report

Monthly estimates

U.S. dairy cows culled for slaughter in November 2015 were estimated at 230,300 head, down 26,200 from October 2015, but 12,400 more than November 2014, according to USDA's monthly report.

USDA's Milk Production report estimated the U.S. dairy herd at 9.313 million in November 2015. At 230,300 head, the culling rate would be about 2.5%. That compares to a culling rate of about 2.3% in November 2014.

Through November, dairy cows culled were estimated at 2.659 million in 2015, up 100,500 head from the same period a year earlier.

November 2014 had 20 weekdays (including two holidays) and five Saturdays. November 2015 contained 21 weekdays (including 2 holiday) and 4 Saturdays.

Monthly dairy cull cow slaughter (1,000 head)

Nov.

Oct.

Nov.

Jan.-Nov.

Jan.-Nov.

2015

2015

2014

2015

2014

230.3

256.6

217.9

2,659.3

2,588.8

Source: USDA

* Slaughtered under federal inspection

 

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