Continued decline for the GB milking herd

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

According to the latest BCMS data release, the GB milking herd totalled 1.64 million head as of 1 January 2022. This is a decline of 2.0% (34k head) compared to January 2021, which continues the long-term trend of decline seen in the national herd.

graph showing chnage in the GB dairy herd by age on 1 January 2022

Youngstock numbers (<2 years) have been steadily increasing over the past 2 years with the current number 933k head, up 5.1% (45k head) from the same time last year. Youngstock numbers started rising in early 2020, so they will start ageing into the main herd this year. However, due to the continuing rise in production costs, farmers are unlikely to increase their herd sizes. Instead, we may see less productive cows cleared to make space going forwards.

graph showing GB dairy female and youngstock number up to 1 January 2022

Image of staff member Freya Shuttleworth

Freya Shuttleworth

Senior Analyst (Livestock)

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