GB milking herd declines, whilst youngstock numbers show signs of growth

Thursday, 10 June 2021

By Charlie Reeve

The GB milking herd has continued to decrease in number, according to the latest data from BCMS.

As at 1 April, the GB milking herd totalled 1.67 million head of cattle, 32,000 head (2%) lower than at the same time last year. The milking herd has been on steady downwards trajectory for several years now.

By contrast, youngstock (under 2 years old) numbers have been increasing. As at 1 April, youngstock numbers totalled 902,000, an increase of 32,000 head (4%) on the same time last year. This suggests that as more youngstock come through into the milking herd, the total GB milking herd may begin to stabilise and potentially even increase in size if these cattle are retained.

Splitting the female dairy herd by age group, there were year on year drops in most age groups.  The largest decline in numbers occurred with the 4-6year group, with a reduction of 22,000 head (4%) on the previous year.


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