Hay growers targeting the dairy market may be interested in the results of a recent Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) study indicating most of the 333 farmers who participated in a recent dairy herd retirement program sold their herds because of high production costs. CWT mailed questionnaires to all of the farmers whose bids were accepted in the CWT herd retirement program conducted earlier this year. Of the 205 survey respondents, 59% cited increased production costs as a driving force behind the herd liquidation, while 40% sold their cows because there was no one to pass the dairy on to, and 37% were going to pursue other types of farming. Retirement prompted the liquidation by 26% of the respondents. Three-quarters of the producers in the survey were over 50 years old.

CWT is being funded by dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers who are contributing a 10 cents per hundredweight assessment on their milk production through December 2007. The money raised is being apportioned among several supply reduction programs in an attempt to improve the national milk price.

Learn more at www.cwt.coop/.