CWT removes 101,000 cows

Cooperatives Working Together has finished the farm audits of its seventh herd retirement round since the program was started in 2003, removing 101,040 cows that produced almost 2 billion pounds of milk.

At the completion of the on-farm auditing process at the end of June, CWT removed 367 herds in 41 states that produced 1.96 million pounds of milk. These figures reflect the final number of dairies that successfully were audited in the herd retirement process in May and June.

CWT had received 538 bids during the bidding process in April. As has been the case with its previous herd retirement rounds, most of the cows removed were in the Western regions of the country. This round also removed 818 bred heifers.

“Even though this was by far the largest of CWT’s seven herd retirement efforts, we were able to move quickly in May and June to audit the participating farms,” said Jim Tillison, chief operating officer of CWT. “The national dairy herd will be noticeably smaller this summer as a result of CWT.”

CWT auditors were sent to each of the farms whose bids were accepted. Once the information submitted by the farmers with their bid was verified, each of the cows had a special CWT ear tag applied, and the farmers were given a brief amount of time to sell their cows for processing. Once the sales receipts for the animals are verified and ear tags are returned to CWT by the processing plants, farmers are issued payment, and their names are posted at

Tillison said some farmers’ names have yet to be posted online from this seventh round, but will be in coming weeks as they are sent their payments.

He added that additional CWT herd reduction activities are likely in 2009, given the depressed state of milk prices and the continuing imbalance between supply and demand.

The totals for each region in the spring 2009 herd retirement round include:

Region Northeast Southeast Midwest Southwest West Total
Total Farms Audited 41 52 125 63 86 367
Total Cows Retired 5,121 6,400 8,153 43,121 38,245 101,040
Total Milk Removed 104.3 million pounds 107.2 million pounds 147.3 million pounds 844.4 million pounds 759.9 million pounds 1.96 billion pounds
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