The GB milking herd has shrunk again, with the latest figures from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) at April 1, 2020, revealing a national herd of 1.70m head – down 2.9% (-50,700 head) from the same point last year.

The number of cows in the 2-4yrs age category was the largest contributor to the decline, falling 37,300 head from the same time last year. This follows the trend seen recently as the lower number of calves born 2-4 years ago come through the herd.

There was also a decline in the number of senior cows aged 6-8yrs (-17,900 head). Offsetting this slightly was the number of cows aged 4-6yrs, which increased by 6000 head compared to April 2019. Again, these figures follow herd trends of previous years.

While the number of youngstock (0-2yrs) dropped by 700 head on the year, an increase in numbers aged 0-6mths (+5200 head), helped to slow the overall decline in youngstock numbers.