The time of year has arrived, once again, when farmers ask themselves what should be done with cull cows.
Many farmers have now completed scanning their cows and determined which cows are not in calf. And with grass being in short supply on many farms, it would be a good idea for many farmers to move these empty cows on.
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 270kg in factories at present.
To achieve this carcass weight of 270kg, a cow would need to be weighing between 580-600kg.
For the light-of-flesh cows, coming straight from the parlour, a price of between €2.50-3.00/kg can be achieved.
Demand for manufacturing beef is strong so factories are keen for all types of cull cows, so more may be possible.
Another option for farmers is to sell cows at the mart to be sold in the cull cow ring for further feeding.
According to a number of mart managers that Agriland spoke to this week, cull cow numbers at marts are currently low.
According to these mart managers, this due to the good price for milk; farmers are willing to continue milking for now.
One mart manager said that he expects cows to be making around the €2/kg when they begin to arrive.
But again, there could be great variation in prices being paid for stock from mart to mart, and even day to day.
The answer of which is better really depends on each individual farmer’s situation. Agriland advises all farmers to have a look around before selling.
Have a look at your local mart/factory and see what cull cows are making and this will guide your decision on where to send them.
Although for the majority of dairy farms cull-cow prices won’t have a major impact on the bottom line, in a year when cost are high you should look at getting the best prices possible for these animals.