September 20, 2022


UK cattle population increased year-on-year in July


Recent data from the British Cattle Movement Service show that the number of cattle in the UK increased by 0.3% in July over the same month last year, with the population at 8 million head of cattle in total, an increase of 20,800 from July 2021, the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reported.


This extends the upward trend in UK cattle numbers that began in 2022.


Females older than 30 months, a sign of the breeding herd, numbered 2.76 million, down 2% from July 2021. This decline, which continued the longer-term trend for UK cow numbers, was evenly distributed between dairy and beef animals, declining by 2.1% and 2.2% (or about 29,000 head each) respectively.


There were 5.15 million head of cattle under 30 months old, an increase of 1.6% (up 80,600 head). The only category to experience a decline (back 9%) was dairy males, with the decline being more pronounced in young animals (back 29,300 head). Some of this change may be attributed to increased use of dairy and beef semen from sexed animals.


Dairy males experienced declines, but growth was seen in other categories. Compared to 2021 figures, the total amount of youngstock (under 12 months old) increased by 0.1% to 2.47 million head. Male and female cattle saw an increase of 1%, and dairy cows saw an increase of 2%. Analysing the data revealed a 1.2% decrease in the overall number of animals under 6 months. In contrast to the slight increases observed for beef animals (up 0.2% for females and 0.7% for males), there were fewer dairy animals born (a decrease of 2% for dairy females and a decrease of 24% for dairy males).


There were 1.8 million head of cattle available for beef production (dairy males plus beef males and females aged between 12 and 30 months, accounting for replacement sucklers), which saw an overall increase of 3%. Dairy males increased by 5%, beef females by 2%, and beef males by 3%, bringing the total number of categories up. This general pattern supports the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board's prediction that there will be an increase in supply of cattle in the second half of 2022.


-      UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

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