Herd numbers in Scotland have again slipped, with the latest figures released by the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association for the first six months of the year, showing numbers are down to 888.

As expected, cow numbers continued to rise and now stand at 180,293 – an increase of 755 from January, making the average herd size 203.

The net decreases mainly effect Aberdeen and, once again, Lanarkshire with a collective loss of six herds. Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Wigtownshire all saw new dairies start milk production over the last six months with more due to start later this year.

Milk recorded herds make up 73% of the dairy herds within Scotland with an increase of 1505 cows, since January taking the total to 132,425 milk recorded cows in 607 herds with an average herd size of 218.

Commenting on the figures Janette Mathie, secretary of the SDCA, said “The long-term investment of some dairy farmers continues with increased cow numbers and new dairies starting milk production. There are however heightened uncertainties, especially in Kintyre and the sad loss of Arran creamery last week.

"On a positive note NFUS organised meetings continue to steer a path to get fairer milk contracts for all dairy producers.

Dairy farmers, especially those with larger herds, are utilising milk recording data, and finding the information invaluable in managing herds. Mobile apps and herd management programmes make it easy to input data and share with farm consultants, vets and other industry partners to increase health, welfare and profitability of herds,” she said.