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.

 

Felicity Rusk

Analyst - Dairy & Livestock

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