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UK cattle population rises in 2021

06 January 2022

A 4% increase in the Northern Irish herd was cited as the cause

In a report from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), livestock analyst Hannah Clarke evaluated numbers from Defra's recently released agricultural census for 1 June 2021.

The final release includes the latest Northern Irish data from DAERA, which showed that overall cattle numbers there increased by 4% from the year before.

This meant that the total UK cattle figure was revised upwards to 9.6 million, relatively unchanged (-0.1%) from 2020.

A slightly larger NI breeding herd -dairy and beef cows over 2yrs old - meant that the UK breeding herd stood at 3.3 million, 0.7% smaller than the same point a year ago. This was driven by a contraction in suckler cow numbers, particularly in England, as the dairy herd remained stable overall, Clarke wrote in her analysis.

NI was the only nation to record an increase in numbers of other cattle aged 2 years and over. However, this was not enough to outweigh lower numbers in other nations. NI also recorded the largest actual growth in numbers of cattle aged between 1-2 years, and less than 1 year old. This meant that overall UK figures for these age brackets were also revised upwards, remaining in growth from the year before.



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