U.S. dairy farmers sent 228,000 dairy cows to slaughter through Federally-inspected plants in July, USDA reports this morning. That's 19,000 more than July of 2008 but 28,000 head less than June of this year.
The wild swings in numbers, a 9% increase over last July but an 11% decrease from June, is likely due the Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) program. The 7th round of CWT took 105,000 head earlier this summer, but when they actually moved to slaughter depended on when auditors could verify individual herds.
Year-to-date, dairy cow slaughter is running 205,000 head above last year, a 14% increase.
However, USDA estimates dairy cows still on U.S. farms is down only 145,000 from a year ago, and about 120,000 head from January. www.agweb.com/DairyToday/Article.aspx
The large number of replacement heifers currently available is allowing dairy producers to keep barns full to capacity-plus.