A net decrease of 10 dairy herds in Scotland during 2023 brings the total to 794 according to information realised by the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association.

Dairy herd statistics for Scotland, during the same period, witnessed an increase of 2086 cows making a total of 180,648, the highest number this century.

The average herd size continues to rise and now stands at 227, up by six on the year.

Ayrshire saw the biggest decrease with a net loss of six herds followed by Dumfriesshire with a net loss of six herds.

However, there was a net increase of six herds in Aberdeenshire and Wigtownshire.

Cows officially milk recorded are 72% of the dairy cow population with an average herd size of 241 cows.

There is also an increase in milk sample monitoring for somatic cell count, pregnancy diagnosis, and disease testing, with dairy farmers, milk processors, and industry partners all aware of animal welfare and the importance and financial benefits of improving milk quality and reducing disease.

“Last year was a challenging year for Scottish dairy farmers, with reductions in milk prices, labour issues, and the cost-of-living crises but there is optimism and resilience with new dairies due to start up during 2024 and dedication in producing high quality milk and dairy products and breeding superior dairy cattle,” said Janette Mathie, the secretary of the SDCA.