As we enter into the autumn months, for many dairy farms, it is time to move on cull cows from the herd and reduce stocking-rate pressure.

Many farmers have now completed scanning their cows and determined which cows are not in calf.

Grass remains in a strong position on farms, but heavy rain last weekend may see this change.

Silage is likely in the diet in many areas and for some it isn’t that far away from being in the diet full-time.

The question then becomes: Where is the best place to send these cows?


Based on current prices, €3.95/kg could be achieved for a well-fleshed cull cow grading P= 3= with a carcass weight of over 270kg at factories – which would achieve a price of €1,066.50.

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 roughly €3.41/kg for a cow grading P- 2- cow can be achieved.

Prices at marts will very much depend on the trade at the time of sale, but reports suggest that €2/kg is being achieved for fleshly lots – while around €1/kg is being paid for cows fresh from the parlour and short of flesh.

Cull cows

The best advice is to shop around and determine what is the best price that you can achieve for the cows you have to sell.

Last year cull cows price probably weren’t as important, but low milk prices this year mean that it is likely going to be more important.

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.

Cull cows should be removed from the herd before housing takes place on farm, as the cost and fodder usage of keeping them is difficult to justify.

Removing these cows cuts costs and also reduces the amount of fodder being used on a daily basis.