Milking herd has smallest contraction since 2017

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

The GB milking herd totalled 1.66 million head, a contraction of 13,500 head (0.8%) on October 2021. A small uplift in the 2-4year old category of 7,600 head (1%) was not enough to offset the decline seen in all other adult categories, resulting in the overall decline.  

The Milk Forecasting Forum in early September had some discussion around whether an increase in destocking would be seen this autumn if margins remained tight and weather unfavourable. Instead, the herd data shows the smallest annual decline at October since 2017. Whilst input costs have not decreased, continuation of historically high prices helping to keep farmers in the industry, and a recovery in grass growth in September, may have supported stock retention.

Overall youngstock numbers have increased by 18,400 head, up 2% on the same period last year. There was a reduction in animals 0-6months old by 7,500 head (2.9%) when compared with October 2021. However, at 248,600 head, this is still the third-largest cohort of 0-6 month olds seen at October in the last 10 years. Growth of the 12-18 month and 18-24month categories by 6% and 5% respectively on the same period last year have carried the overall growth of the youngstock category, as 6-12 months animals only saw a slight uplift in numbers (959 head).

Image of staff member Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Charlotte Forkes-Rees

Retail and Consumer Insight Analyst

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