Dairy calf registrations: Q1 registrations hit a new high

Wednesday, 29 May 2024

GB registrations of calves born to dairy dams totalled 406,000 in the first quarter of 2024. This is up 0.7% on the previous year and the highest recorded figure for Q1. The uplift was mostly driven by increased births in January and February, up 1.0% and 2.7% year on year, respectively. Registrations were lower in March, down 1.7% year on year.

We continue to see the move to more block calving systems illustrated in the BCMS data, with registrations in quarter one of 2024 trending above the five-year average. We can expect that the births total in Q2 will be much lower in comparison to Q1 due to the summer seasonality trends.

Despite increased registrations indicating a productive milking herd, GB milk deliveries have been down year on year. This supports commentary that cow yields are lower having been negatively impacted by the prolonged wet weather witnessed since October last year.

It is also worth noting that calves born to dairy dams are not all destined for the dairy herd. Recent analysis shows that just over half of all cattle slaughtered in GB abattoirs are born to the dairy herd with the use of beef semen increasing in recent years.

GB monthly births to dairy dams

line grapg showing quarterly change in numbers of calves born to dairy dams in GB

Source: BCMS

Image of staff member Becky Smith

Becky Smith

Analyst (Livestock)

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