Milking herd stable but young stock down

Published 20 September 17

The total GB dairy herd is 1.2% smaller in July 2017 than July 2016, which follows similar reporting of year-on-year contractions in April and January this year. Although the total herd size is down, the milking herd is now at a very similar level to July 2016, halting the year-on-year declines recorded in January and April. 

2017.09.21 herd deaths

There was a 12% reduction in the number of dairy deaths in cows over 3 years old in Q2 2017 v Q2 2016 suggesting that heavy culling in response to low milk prices last year is slowing. A decline in young stock continues, particularly in the <1 year old group which saw a drop of 6.6% compared to the same time last year.

Breeding decisions for these cows made during the price trough in the autumn of last year are now starting to show up. The increase in 2-4 year old cows moving through the herd may increase milk production in the short term but in the longer term, a lack of potential replacement heifers could pose difficulties for sustained production levels. 

2017.09.21 herd age profile