English dairy herd continues to rise

Published 10 March 16

The dairy herd in England has increased for the fourth year in a row. The figures, released by Defra for December 2015, show the herd at its highest level since 2009, standing at 1,178k head. The maximum replacement rate* remains at 29%, which it has done for the past 5 years, suggesting there are enough animals in the system for the herd to increase again next year. 

English dairy herd 10.03.16

The increase in cow numbers, alongside a continual rise in yields, brings further milk production capability to the English dairy herd. In the past, farmers looking to leave the industry have largely seen their cattle brought by other farmers instead of being culled. This has prevented milk production from dropping off in line with the fall in farmer numbers. However, with sustained low milk prices for many farmers, this figure could begin to stabilise/fall over the coming year.  

* calculated as the number of female dairy cows aged 1-2 years as a percentage of the number of female dairy cows in the breeding herd