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Average dairy herd size in the United Kingdom (UK) 2002/03-2019/20

In 2019/20, the average number of dairy cows, otherwise known as the ‘national dairy herd’ size in the United Kingdom was approximately 1.87 million animals. The last three years have broken a downward trend that lasted from 2002/03 to 2013/14.

UK milk production

The modern dairy cow is especially bred for milk production. Even though the UK dairy herd in 2002/03 was bigger than the current herd, the current milk production surpasses the one in 2002/03 by a few hundred million liters of milk. This is reflected in an increased average milk yield per cow in the UK.

UK Cheese production

Cheese production in the UK is up. The last 4 years has consistently surpassed 400 thousand metric tons, amounting to 455 thousand tons in 2017/2018. By far the biggest attributor to UK production is cheddar cheese. Here we can see again a significant increase in the production in the last four years.

Average size of the national dairy herd in the United Kingdom (UK) from period 2002/03 to 2019/20

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Release date

March 2021


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2002/03 to 2019/20

Supplementary notes

* Leap years.
** Provisional data
The source states that from 1999/00 to 2004/05 "the average size of the dairy herd is estimated by taking the size of the herd at June and December from the agricultural census information, and calculating the population trends during the remaining months of the year. From 2005/06 data is obtained through the Cattle Tracing System (CTS)."

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