Dairy calf registrations reached a new high for the first quarter of 2024 – rising 0.7% on the previous year to 406,000 head.

Much of this rise was the result of increased births in the first two months, at plus-1.0% in January and up 2.7% in February,

while registrations fell 1.7% on the previous year in March.

Figures from BCMS data point to a rise in block-calving systems, with registrations in the first quarter of 2024 above the five-year average, while births in the second quarter are expected to be lower due to summer seasonality trends.

However, while increased registrations would indicate a more productive milking herd, GB milk deliveries have been down year on year, according to a report

from AHDB, which points out that cow yields are

also lower due to the prolonged wet weather witnessed since October last year.

The report also highlights that not all calves born to dairy dams are destined for the milking herd. Recent analysis shows that just over half of all cattle slaughtered in GB abattoirs are born to the dairy herd with the use of beef semen increasing in recent years.