GB milking herd continues to shrink

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

By Hannah Clarke

The GB milking herd has shrunk again, according to the latest data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). At 1 Jan 2020, the herd stood at 1.72 million head, down 3% (-49,600 head) from the same point last year.

The largest contributor to the decline was the lower number of cows aged 2-4yrs (-42,500 head). This follows the current trend, as the lower number of calves on the ground 2-4 years ago works its way up through the age brackets.



There was also a decline in the number of cows aged 6-8yrs (-15,800 head). Offsetting this slightly was the number of cows aged 4-6yrs, which was up by 10,500 head compared to January 2019. Again, these figures follow herd trends of previous years.

While the number of youngstock (0-2yrs) dropped by 5,700 head on the year, an increase in numbers aged 0-6mths (+1,800 head), helped to slow the overall decline in youngstock numbers.



The slowing rate of decline in youngstock numbers suggests some future stabilisation of the GB milking herd size.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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