Elevated NZ female cattle kill continues

29 October 2015

With only one month of the New Zealand (NZ) production season to go, NZ adult cattle slaughter in August was 42% higher than year-ago levels, at 124,447 head (Statistics New Zealand).

This brought the season-to-August total to 2.6 million head – up 11% on the corresponding period the previous year.

The rise in August was largely underpinned by a 72% surge in female cattle slaughter for the month, at 93,092 head – making up 75% of the total adult kill.

The elevated female slaughter is reportedly is response to falling milk prices, causing dairy farmers to cull poor-performing cows.

Monthly female slaughter has been higher year-on-year every month so far this season, except in April, and as a result the season-to-August total amounted to 1.6 million head – up 17% on the same period last year.

Typically in NZ, almost all calf slaughter occurs within the July-September period. Calf slaughter in August was back 3% on year-ago levels, at 1.1 million head, with reports that some dairy farmers held bull calves back for finishing to capitalise on buoyant world beef prices.

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