Fewer cows entering the GB herd

Published 7 June 16

With challenging market conditions, questions have been asked concerning how the GB dairy herd is responding. Looking at how numbers in the 1-2 year old (youngstock) and 2-3 year old (replacement stock) age brackets have evolved, we can predict the size of the replacement stock a year later.

As expected, when youngstock numbers increase this normally translates into an increase in the replacement stock in the future. However, since Q2 2015, there has been a noticeable divergence between the two lines. The youngstock numbers should have driven an increase in replacement stock coming through, but since the second half of 2015 numbers in the 2-3 year old age bracket have moved in the opposite direction.

Fewer cows entering the GB herd 

As of Q1 2016, there are approximately 16k fewer animals in the replacement population than would have been expected from youngstock numbers. This equates to about 120m litres less milk being produced annually due to fewer than forecasted animals entering the herd. Looking ahead, the youngstock numbers suggest there is significant potential for the GB herd to expand. However, in current market conditions it’s likely a growing proportion of these animals won’t make it through into the milking herd.