UK Experiencing Decline in Cattle Numbers

UK - December's UK livestock survey released by Defra showed a downward trend in cattle numbers which has little hope of reversing in the short term, says Bord Bia analyst Eoin Kelly.
calendar icon 7 April 2014
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Overall, a drop of less than 1 per cent to 9.68 million head was recorded in cattle numbers, writes. This was largely driven by a decline in the beef herd, which more than offset somewhat an increase in the dairy herd.

The breeding herd has seen a further decline, however contrasting trends were evident across the beef and dairy breeding herds.

A 3 per cent drop in the beef breeding herd was recorded, while the dairy herd showed an increase of 1.7 per cent .

Cull cow numbers showed a 2 per cent increase to reach 755,000 head. This was driven by an increase in both dairy and beef cull cows.

In terms of female cattle between one and two years old, static numbers were recorded overall. A 1 per cent decrease in beef numbers was offset by a 2 per cent rise in dairy numbers.

Focusing on male cattle, a 12 per cent rise was recorded in male cattle aged greater than 2 years. This is set to help the recovery in UK beef supplies in 2014. Similarly, a rise of over 1 per cent was recorded for cattle between one and two years.

Both female and male calf numbers showed declines which points to a downward pressure on supply from the second half of 2015. Female calves were down by over 3 per cent while male calves were 5 per cent lower.

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