Organic sector shows growth

Published 21 March 19

Production within the organic sector has seen rapid growth between 2012 and 2017 according to the European Commission’s latest Agricultural Market Brief. In 2017, the UK had the 6th largest population of organic cattle (including dairy cows), was the 5th largest producer of organic milk and the 3rd largest producer of organic dairy products (drinking milk, cream, yoghurts, butter and cheese).

While the area farmed organically* in the UK decreased by 17% in the 5 years to 2017, the number of organically-reared cattle grew by 5% to 294,000 head. Organic dairy cows typically account for 26% of the total, with 77,000 head in 2017.

Organic Milk Production

Milk production in the UK organic sector grew steadily over this period, in line with rising cattle numbers. While the vast majority of the milk is used for drinking milk, the share of organic milk used for cheese production has grown from 32% to 36%.

Organic Milk Use


*area under temporary and permanent pasture (incl. rough grazing)