CWT finishes latest herd retirement

February 16, 2009 06:00 PM
 
            Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has now finished the farm audits of its sixth herd retirement round since the program was started in 2003.
            At the completion of the on-farm auditing process earlier this month, CWT removed 186 herds in 33 states, comprised of nearly 51,000 cows that produced 976 million pounds of milk. These figures reflect the final number of dairies that successfully were audited in the herd retirement process in December, January and early February.
            CWT received 471 bids from 40 states during the bidding process last fall. 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 1,240 bred heifers.
            "CWT continues to be an efficient and cost-effective way for dairy farmers to collectively adjust supply and help strengthen farm-level prices,” says Jim Tillison, Chief Operating Officer of CWT, adding that this most recent herd retirement, when paired with the one conducted in the summer of 2008, together removed 1.4 billion pounds of milk and 76,000 cows in an eight-month period.
            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 on the CWT website. Some farmers' names have yet to be posted online from this sixth round, but will be in coming weeks as they are sent their payments.
            Tillison says that once CWT receives commitments to a two-year program, through Dec. 2010, from 67% of the nation's milk supply, it will determine the proper timing to initiate future herd reduction programs.
 
 
The totals for each region* in the 2008-2 round include:
Region
Milk Lbs.
(millions)
Farms
Cows
Bred Heifers
Average Bid/cwt.
Northeast
43.7
22
2,295
25
$6.47
Southeast
65.4
28
3,750
58
$6.48
Midwest
64.4
48
3,290
39
$6.20
Southwest
304.6
39
17,522
763
$6.36
West
497.9
49
23,773
459
$6.87
Total
976
186
50,630
1,240
$6.49**
 
* = Note that bids are grouped by region for comparative purposes, even though regional volume safeguards were eliminated in 2008. To see which states are in which region, visit www.cwt.coop/action/action_herd_map.html. For more information on CWT programs, go to www.cwt.coop.
 

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