One of the highest numbers of empty cows in recent years could play havoc with the meat industry and will likely cost the dairy industry more than $20 million dollars next season. The latest statistics from LIC with data from 4000 farms representing about 2.5 million cows shows the empty rate for the coming season is likely to be around 17.2%. Last year it was 16.2% and over the years has hovered between 15% and 16%. LIC general manager NZ markets Malcolm Ellis says while that means a significant loss of milk production, the impact of having 48,000 extra cull cows sent to processors will have a huge impact. Malcolm Ellis, says by his calculation it will result in 2.7 million kgMS not being produced and effectively lost. So less milk and more cull animals to process than normal for the meat industry which is still short of staff and facing ongoing problems with sickness.