Replacements recovering, but milk price crucial

Published 12 December 17

According to data from BCMS, over the last 5 years, 97% of youngstock in GB (1-2 year olds) have remained in the herd as replacements (2-3 year olds) 12 months later. The rate at which cows are retained is strongly linked to milk prices in the country. It is therefore no surprise that as milk prices have risen over the last 12 months, so have animal retention rates.

Herd retention rates v milk price Dec17 

By October 2017, replacement stock stood at 454k head, up 6.4% on October 2016, and equivalent to 96.1% of the youngstock numbers from a year earlier. This is the highest retention rate for two years and a clear indication of farmers reacting to the recovery in dairy markets. The improvement in herd retention compared with the low recorded in July 2016, is estimated to be adding around 70m litres per year to GB milk production.

 * 12-month rolling GB milk price excluding retrospective bonuses