Where are the cows in the Northern Hemisphere?

Published 24 February 16

It appears that low returns from the dairy sector have so far not given rise to a reduction in dairy cow numbers in the Northern Hemisphere.

 North Hem cow nos 24/02/16                                                                                                                   Sources: Eurostat & USDA

EU data for 2015 shows the herd in EU-25 increased by 100k head compared to last year, largely driven by increases in Ireland and the Netherlands which more than offset an increase in cullings in other member states such as Poland and Lithuania.

In the US, dairy cows, according to the 1 Jan 2016 inventory, increased marginally to 9.315m head and replacement heifers expected to calve this year are also up 65k head (+2.1%). Meanwhile, in Russia, dairy cow numbers are currently estimated to be in the region of 8m head according to the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Numbers in Russia are expected to decline further as smallholder farms slaughter less productive cows and large-scale farms become more focused on farm modernisation and improving productivity.