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Dairy herd decline may be slowing

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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A DECLINE in the UK's dairy herd might be slowing down, according to new statistics.

Figures show the number of female cattle aged over 24 months that have not calved has increased by 2 per cent in the last year to 403,000. This suggests that the number of cattle available to enter the herd in the short-term has also risen marginally.

The number of female dairy cattle aged 12-24 months has increased by 2,000 (0.4 per cent) since June 2010. That is being taken as an indication that the decline in the UK herd is beginning to stall.

The statistics come from the Direct Supply Manager for Dairy Crest's Davidstow plant, Jen White.

She told students at Duchy College the decline looks to be less sharp even though the number of dairy cows in the UK herd has fallen by 33,000 (1.8 per cent) when compared to last year and there are now 1.81 million dairy cows in the UK dairy herd. That is a fall of 7.2 per cent (140,000 dairy cows) in the last five years.

She said the region's ability to grow grass is one of its strongest assets when it comes to gross margins, compared to other regions where land use is in strong competition with the arable sector.

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