Who’s culling dairy cows?

Published 18 November 15

Figures on deaths of dairy females suggest an increased rate of culling of the GB dairy herd. The number of dairy females over 36 months slaughtered in the first nine months of 2015 was 9% higher than the same period in 2014. However, they were only 6% up on the three-year average as slaughter numbers in 2014 were relatively low. The overall impact of this on the size of the dairy herd is partly curtailed by an increase in the number of dairy females aged 3 years or older entering the herd. As of July, there were 20,000 more females (+1.5%) in this age group than in 2014.

Elsewhere, provisional figures from New Zealand indicate that dairy cow slaughterings for the year ending September 2015 increased by around 28% on the previous season. Likewise, US dairy cow slaughter numbers for the nine months to September were up 4% on the same period in 2014. However, US cow numbers in September increased by 36,000 head compared to the same period last year.

 

Dairy cullings of females over 36 months (Jan-Sep 2015)

 

Number of cows

(000s)

change from 2014 (000s)

change from 2014 (%)

Dairy female population

(36 months+)

(000s)

UK

287

+25

9

1,4001

NZ

1,187

+256

28

5,0202

US

2,173

+82

4

9,300

1As of June 2015                                                                                     Source: BCMS, USDA, DairyNZ

2Estimate based on 2014/15 milk herd