Reduction in dairy females exiting the dairy herd

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

By Chris Gooderham

As part of our milk production forecast, we predict the number of cows being retained in the industry every six months. This also allows us to forecast the number of female dairy cows exiting the industry.

On average, over the last five years, 249k head female dairy cows have left the industry every six months. This peaked in December 2018 and December 2019 at just over 262k head.

We have seen a slightly higher exit rate in the second half of the year compared with the first half. Over the last five years, around 5% more animals have exited in H2 compared with H1, equivalent to an extra 11k head.

Expectations between now and the end of 2022 is for an average of 243k head dairy females to exit the industry per six months. That is 2.5% down on the previous five year average. Although the overall dairy herd continues to shrink, pressure of high feed costs, the attraction of high deadweight cull cow prices and an increase in youngstock numbers are all impacting on the forecast.  

Image of staff member Chris Gooderham

Chris Gooderham

Head of Market Specialists - Dairy & Livestock

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