GB cattle population stabilised by youngstock numbers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

The total number of cattle in GB on 1 October was virtually unchanged from a year ago, at 7.97 million head. Although, there was some movement within this total.

Starting with breeding cows (OTM females), numbers remained around 2% lower year-on-year, continuing the trend of the last couple of years. Both dairy and beef cow numbers were 2% lower.

Numbers of cattle aged under 12 months remained 2% higher year-on-year. A fall in numbers of dairy males was more than offset by increases in dairy females and beef animals of both sexes. Cattle numbers saw particular growth in the 6-12 month age bracket, while numbers of cattle under 6 months of age showed more modest growth. The dairy herd has seen increased birth registrations so far this year.

Prime cattle

Thinking about beef production, the number of prime cattle (dairy males and beef cattle of both sexes aged between 12-30 months, accounting for suckler replacements) was 1% lower than a year ago.

All types remained in decline, particularly dairy males. Beef males declined by a similar number to dairy males (~6,500 head), while beef females remained largely unchanged. Within the age brackets, numbers of prime cattle aged 18-24 months increased by 1%. However, this was not enough to outweigh lower numbers of cattle in the 12-18 month and 24-30 month age brackets.

Looking ahead, cattle supplies for beef production are looking to remain tighter for the rest of the year, and potentially into early 2022. However, higher numbers of youngstock could offer support to supplies towards the end of next year. Look out for our next Agri-Market Outlook, which we will be publishing in the New Year.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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