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EU dairy herd declines

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Staff Writer | October 6, 2017
EU dairy herd
Europe   The number of replacement heifers picked up

Higher dairy cow cullings and fewer replacement heifers being retained last year, largely due to low milk prices, have taken their toll on the EU dairy herd.

The number of dairy cows was 1% lower year-on-year, according to the Eurostat 2017 May/June cattle census results, AHDB says.

This has been reflected in EU milk deliveries so far this year, with volumes 0.6% below year earlier levels in the first half of 2017.

Recently though, culling rates have been on the decline, with dairy slaughterings down 2% year-on-year for the first half of 2017.

As well as this, the number of replacement heifers over 2 years picked up slightly (1%), but remained lower than 2015 levels.

This could suggest some firming up of the EU dairy herd, especially with significantly improved milk prices.

However, the number of female calves under 12 months is 2% down year-on-year. If this continues, it could limit the long-term milk production potential of the EU.


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