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Britain's Dairy Herd Declining

16 August 2016

UK - The size of the milking herd in Britain has decreased by 2 per cent over the past year, the biggest annual drop in the last four years, levy board AHDB Dairy has reported.

According to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), there were 1.80m dairy females over 2 years of age as of 1 July 2016, down 37,000 head from a year earlier. Culls of dairy females (over 36 months) over the same period rose 13 per cent to 37,000.

While cullings have been increasing steadily since the middle of 2014, the rate accelerated at the beginning of 2016. The increase has predominantly affected the number of cows in the early lactation years.

The net decline in the milking herd suggests that those being culled are not being replaced by youngstock. Short term, this could mean production will be lower.

However, the number of youngstock is still 15,000 head higher than last year and almost 60,000 head higher compared to four years earlier. As a result, the potential to increase milk production through an increase in the milking herd still exists.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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