Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) announced July 2 that its recent dairy herd retirement program had removed 101,040 dairy cows—mostly from the western part of the nation—and almost 2 billion lbs. of annual milk production from the national inventory.
Friday, CWT announced plans to begin the next herd retirement this month.
“Carrying out a second herd retirement right on the heels of the largest‐ever herd retirement should give us a double‐barreled attack on milk production in a very short period of time, resulting in a farm level price recovery several months sooner than would otherwise occur,” explained Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, which manages CWT.
As with recent CWT herd retirements, in addition to submitting bids for their milk herds, participating producers can also offer all of their bred heifers for retirement. Bids are being accepted until July 24.
There’s no word on how many cows CWT is looking to cull from the herd during this new round of herd retirement. When CWT first announced its plans for 2009, Jim Tillison, CWT chief operating officer, said, “Given the economic stresses on the farm today, we anticipate CWT will remove a significant number of dairy animals, but that depends on our members and the level of the bids submitted, given current cow prices.” As with other herd retirement rounds in recent years, he explained CWT has no set target for the volume of milk or the number of cows to be removed.
Early projections from beef industry analysts suggested CWT would be looking to clear 250,000-300,000 cows from the herd this year.
So far, reduced beef cow slaughter on a year-to-year basis has helped negate price pressure from the increased harvest of dairy cows.
According to the Livestock Marketing Information Center, total federally inspected cow slaughter was approximately 3% higher than last year on a weekly basis through the middle of June, though 16% higher than the five-year average. Beef cow slaughter is down about 6% compared to last year, while dairy cow slaughter was up 15% (20% more than the five-year average).
CWT is funded by dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers, who are contributing 10¢/cwt. assessment on their milk production through December 2010.