DAIRY cattle numbers in Scotland are on the rise with a notable increase of over a thousand in the first six months of 2018, with the total now sitting at 179,931.
According to the secretary of the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association, Janette Mathie, these early indicators suggest that cow numbers will continue to increase, with a few new farms due to start milk production before the end of the year.
The latest figures released by the SDCA, however, also revealed that 16 herds have been lost since January, taking the total down to 902, with the biggest herd losses recorded across the Lothians and Lanarkshire, where seven herds folded.
Ayrshire, which has the highest number of herds and total of dairy cattle in Scotland, saw four herds lost, while the third largest dairy region, Wigtownshire, accounted for three losses but also had three new dairies start milk production, giving a net increase of 894 cows over the last six months.
Commenting on the first six months of the year, Ms Mathie said: “The wet Spring, lack of forage and the uncertain milk price proved too much for some farmers and they made the decision to sell up whilst others have made a huge investment for their future within the dairy industry and increased cow numbers accordingly.
“Many dairy farmers took advantage of the EU-funded incentive scheme to start milk recording last year, and have found the information invaluable in managing their herds, especially with added health and pregnancy services and the ability to check details of their herd by using smart phone apps or management programs,” she concluded.
By: Claire Taylor
Source: The Scottish Farmer