Marginal rise in English cattle population, but breeding herd still in decline

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

The number of cattle in England on 1 June 2022 stood at 5.1 million head, according to Defra figures. Overall, total cattle and calf numbers were up 0.7% (36,300 head) on the year before.

Within this overall increase, there was some variations between cattle groups.

The largest decreases were seen within female cattle over 2 years old. The breeding herd stood at 1.7 million head, 1.3% down on the previous year. Within this, the beef breeding herd contracted 2.2% (14,500 head) to 650,800, whilst the dairy breeding herd fell by 0.7% (8,200 head) to 1.1 million. The beef breeding herd equated for just over one third (37%) of the overall breeding herd, marginally lower than 2021.

The number of male cattle increased by 1.7% (23,600 head), with those aged between 1-2 years old and 2 years plus up 4.3% and 3.2% respectively. However, males aged less than 1 year old fell 0.5% to 680,500 head.

Meanwhile, female youngstock (both dairy and beef) saw gains, with animals between 1 and 2 years old up 3.9%, and those aged less than 1 year up 2.1% on 2021 numbers.

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