What could be the first signs of a flood of dairy cow culling was reported in December, according to USDA numbers of cows processed through Federally-inspected plants. Or, more likely, it was evidence of Cooperative Working Together (CWT) culls coming through the pipeline that were approved in November.
In either case, 21,000 more dairy were cows were culled in December compared to November, and 24,000 more were culled compared to December 2007.
For the year, 94,000 more cows--2.591 million total—were slaughtered in 2008 compared to 2007. That's about equal to the number taken out by the CWT program in 2008—roughly 97,000 head.
Many more cows are expected in the coming weeks and months as the milk/feed price squeeze takes a strangle-hold grip on dairy budgets across the country. The sooner these cows come to market the better.