The time of year has arrived, once again, when farmers are wondering what to do with cull cows.
Many farmers have now finished scanning their cows and determined which cows are not pregnant. And since grass is scarce on many farms, it would be a good idea for many farmers to move those empty cows.
The question then becomes: Where is the best place to send these cows?
Based on current prices, between €4.30 and €4.40/kg could be achieved for a well-fleshed P-grade cull cow with a carcass weight of over 270 kg in factories today.
To reach this carcass weight of 270 kg, a cow would have to weigh between 580 and 600 kg.
For light-fleshed cows, straight from the milking parlour, a price between 2.50-3.00 €/kg can be achieved.
The demand for beef manufacturing is high, so factories are keen on all types of cull cows, so more may be possible.
Another option for farmers is to sell cows in the market to be sold in the cull ring for supplemental feed.
According to a number of store managers who Agriland talked about this week, the number of cull cows in the markets is currently low.
According to these store managers, this is due to the good price of milk; breeders are ready to continue milking for the time being.
A store manager said he expects the cows to fetch around €2/kg when they start arriving.
But again, there could be wide variations in the prices paid for stocks from store to store, and even day to day.
The best answer really depends on each farmer’s situation. Agriland advises all farmers to take a look before selling.
Take a look at your local store/factory and see what cull cows are doing and that will guide your decision on where to send them.
Although for the majority of dairy farms, cull cow prices don’t have a major impact on the bottom line, in a high cost year you should be looking to get the best prices possible for these animals.