German dairy herd consolidates

Published 6 January 17

The latest cattle census from Germany shows an overall reduction in the country’s dairy herd. As of November 2016, Germany’s dairy cow population was down almost 67k head compared with November 2015.

Breeding heifer numbers aged 1-2 years and 2 years and older are also lower than last year. Although the numbers in the two age groups cannot be split out between beef or dairy, given the German herd is dominated by dairy cows, the reduction in breeding animal numbers is likely due to fewer dairy replacements being bred. Dairy cow holdings have also declined in the past year to 69k, a drop of almost 6%.

 German dairy herd consolidates

The developments in Germany’s dairy cow population are likely to have a pronounced impact on the EU’s milk production, given it accounts for roughly 20% of the EU-28 total. Between April and October 2016, German milk production was down 1% on the same period last year, in line with milk production for the EU-28, which is also down 1% for the same period.