The rise in dairy youngstock numbers

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

By Chris Gooderham

The number of youngstock (0-24 month olds) in the female dairy herd has been increasing recently. As at 1 April, youngstock numbers totalled 902,000 head, 4% (32,200 head) higher than the same time last year.

Since January 2020, we’ve seen a year-on-year increase in the number of 0-6 month old dairy females being registered. The last six quarters have all shown year-on-year lifts, with the last three all rising by more than 5% compared with the same quarter the year before.

The rises are a result of a jump in the use of sexed semen by the GB dairy industry, which accounts for over 50% of total dairy semen sales.

The last time such strong growth was recorded in 0-6 month olds was back in 2014/2015. This was then followed in 2016/2017 with some significant year-on-year declines, off the back of a collapse in milk prices.

We can normally follow the change in 0-6 month olds through the herd over time, although it does not always result in an overall increase in the size of the country’s milking herd. A harder cull of older animals may offset the rise in youngstock numbers. The result is a younger milking herd, but not necessarily a larger one.

Image of staff member Chris Gooderham

Chris Gooderham

Science and Environment Director

See full bio

Sign up to receive the latest information from AHDB.

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  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.