National calving pattern boosting autumn milk

Published 10 October 17

AHDB showed last week how calving patterns have changed over the last 10 years with a concentration of calving into 4 peak months of February/March and August/September. The effect of these changes on GB milk production can be estimated using AHDB’s milk forecasting calculator which shows the trend in production from 2006/07 to 2011/12 being reversed in the most recent 5 years.

Between 2006/07 and 2011/12 an increase in spring calvers would have boosted milk production by up to 4% in the spring and summer months. These cows drying off and fewer autumn calvings would have reduced winter milk production by a similar amount.  

Looking at the change in calving over the past 5 years, these trends have been reversed slightly. Increased calvings in August/September will be boosting milk production by up to 1.5% in October to December, as autumn calvers reach their peak yield. While a small increase in February/March calvings will boost April production slightly, this is being offset by fewer calvings in April through to July. As a result, the shift in calving patterns overall is reducing milk production by around 2% in July and August, relative to 2011/12.

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