Archive: Regional variations seen in development of dairy herd

Published 8 July 14

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The UK dairy herd fell by 1.0% in 2013 according to the Defra June Agricultural Census, dropping by 21 thousand to just under 2.2 million. Declines have been seen in both the breeding herd and the number of replacements in the UK herd, although these developments were not consistent between regions.

Annual change in dairy cow and calf numbers (as of June 2013)

 

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

United Kingdom

Total dairy herd

-1.0%

-3.6%

-0.4%

0.5%

-1.0%

breeding herd

-0.6%

-9.1%

-0.2%

-2.1%

-1.6%

other females*

-2.7%

23.9%

-1.4%

15.3%

2.4%

Replacements

-0.4%

-17.4%

1.3%

11.3%

-0.5%

1-2 years

-0.3%

-32.9%

2.6%

14.9%

-2.6%

less than 1 year

-0.5%

6.2%

0.0%

8.0%

1.5%

Total dairy cows and calves

-0.8%

-8.9%

0.1%

4.1%

-0.8%

 *cattle over 2 years that have not calved
Source: Defra June Survey (2014)

Scotland saw the largest fall in the total number of dairy cattle and calves, with an 8.9% decrease in numbers.  This was primarily due to a significant drop in cattle aged 1-2 years old, which fell by a third to 55 thousand.  Total dairy cow and calf numbers in Wales and England remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2013, while it grew in Northern Ireland.