Great Britain’s milking herd totalled 1.67 million head as of October 1, 2021, a decrease of 1.7% compared to October 2020, according to recent analysis by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

In October 2020, Great Britain’s milking herd totalled 1.96 million. This continues the long-term decline in the national herd which is seen annually – with the exception of a small uptick between July and October, the AHDB note.

The AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. It provides market information with the aim of making Great Britain’s livestock, dairy and agriculture sectors more successful.

In contrast, youngstock numbers have been growing since January 2020. October youngstock numbers this year were 5.3% (47k head) above those a year ago.

According to AHDB analysis, the increasing youngstock figures offer an opportunity for the dairy herd to increase as the young animals grow up and enter the milking herd.

However, it is noted that there are also other factors that contribute to the status quo of the long-term decline, i.e. margin, like higher prices having to compete with increasing costs.