Welsh cattle numbers stable

The total number of cattle and calves in Wales as of June 2017 was relatively stable on the year at 1.14 million head; a marginal increase of 0.3% (3,000 head) on year earlier levels, according to the latest data from the Welsh Agricultural and Horticultural Survey.

The female dairy herd expanded 1% (4,300 head) on the year to a total of 377,400 head in June. Within this figure, the number of dairy cows with offspring increased 1% on the year, and dairy cows without offspring increased almost 2%, counterbalancing the fall witnessed from 2015 to 2016.

Following a steady decline in the total female beef herd in the last decade, the number has been largely stable since 2015. An increase of nearly 1% (2,500 head) to 300,000 head was reported this June, driven by a 5% (1,900 head) increase in cows without offspring, but whether these animals will contribute to the beef production chain or join the breeding herd is undetermined. Meanwhile, the number of the beef females with offspring remained constant, reporting only a marginal 0.2% decrease (-260 head).

Welsh cattle survey

Male cattle aged over 1 reported a 1% (1,700 head) increase, which may indicate stability of Welsh beef supplies in the near future. However, while the number of female beef calves has risen 3% (3,500 head) on year earlier figures, female dairy calf numbers and total male calves have declined by almost 6% (4,500 head) and 3% (4,400 head) respectively, tentatively suggesting the potential for contraction of the Welsh herd moving forward.