Switch to sexed semen begins to stabilise future milking herd

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

By Felicity Rusk

Over the last couple of years, the number of cows in the GB milking herd has been in decline. However, the latest data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) suggests that this could change.

In the year to September, 362k dairy females were registered, the same as 2018 and 2017.


Unsurprisingly, the number of youngstock (under 24 months) follow a similar trend to registrations. In recent years, there has been a slowdown in the rate of decline in the youngstock pool. In July, there was a 1.0% decline in the youngstock population compared to the previous year. In comparison a year earlier, the youngstock population recorded a 3.6% decline in numbers.

The relatively stable female dairy cattle registrations is likely a reflection of the increased usage of sexed semen. Sorted semen now accounts for a third of dairy inseminations. As such, this is counteracting the contraction of the milking herd.

While it will be some time before these females enter the milking herd, the data does suggest that we could see some stabilisation of the size of the milking herd in the future.


Sign up for regular updates

You can subscribe to receive Dairy market news straight to your inbox. Simply fill in your contact details on our online form and select the information you wish to receive.

Visit the Keep in touch page

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at info@ahdb.org.uk  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.