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Scottish Dairy Sector Continues to Decline

11 September 2009

UK - Scottish dairy sector will continue to decline unless there is a long term stable milk price.

The further fall in cows numbers is an alarming loss to the industry, says Jack Lawson from the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association (SDCA), as new figures show that during the first eight months of this year, there was a net loss of 18 dairy herds.

Speaking to the Business Scotsman Mr Lawson said that the net reduction in total numbers of cows had been caused by herds going out of production. He urged dairy farmers to invest and plan for the long run but said that unless there was strong evidence of a stable milk price in the longer term - a price that covers cost and leaves something for re-investment the downward trend would accelerate.

The latest figures from the SDCA report that there are only 1,124 dairy farm businesses in Scotland. 60 years ago there were some 8,300 farms. Statistics show that dairy farms have increased in cow numbers, leaving the average herd size at 144 cows. This puts Scotland at top of the European league for the number of dairy cows in a herd. In the county of Kirkcudbright, the average herd size is 231 cows.

Although national cow numbers have fallen across England and Wales as well, there has been an increase in performance with yield per cow rising.

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