Figures released by the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association, for the first six months of the year, show that herd numbers are down again to 888 herds, but cow numbers continue to increase and now stand at 180,293 an increase of 755 from January, making the average herd size 203. The net decreases mainly affect Aberdeen and, once again, Lanarkshire with a collective loss of 6 herds. Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Wigtownshire all saw new dairies start milk production.

Commenting on the first six months of the year Janette Mathie, the Secretary of the SDCA, said “The long-term investment of some dairy farmers continues with increased cow numbers and new dairies starting milk production. There are however heightened uncertainties, especially in Kintyre and the sad loss of Arran creamery last week”.

NFU Scotland Milk Committee Chairman, John Smith, a dairy farmer from Kintyre, said: “The latest figures from the SDCA on the Scottish dairy herd reflect the long term trend which shows the number of dairy farms falling but dairy cow numbers increasing as remaining herds expand. There have also been a number of new herds established which underlines our belief that there is a great future for dairy production in Scotland, but there needs to be positive change across the whole supply chain from cow to consumer.

“However, recent announcements regarding the creamery closure on Arran and the uncertainty around Campbeltown creamery show how exposed some of our remote but highly productive milk fields are”.

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 16 prime heifers at Ayr on Tuesday to a top of £1385 per head and 243p/kg for a Charolais to average £1183 or 216p overall.

In the rough ring 26 beef cows sold to £1050 to average 120p, while 76 dairy cows peaked at £910 and levelled at 93p. Two bulls averaged 116p, while 4 Clean, OTM cattle averaged 148p.

Nine dairy cattle sold to £2120 for a second calver, while calved heifers sold to £2000 for a Holstein Friesian.

C&D Auction Marts Ltd held their opening sale of 524 store lambs at Longtown on Tuesday.

Topping the sale was a pen of 55 Texel cross store lambs which realised £72. Texel lambs also sold to £69 and £66.50. Suffolk cross lambs sold to £62.

The firm also held their weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries yesterday when prime heifers sold to a top of 214p/kg. In the rough ring cast beef cows sold to £1190 and 129p, while cast dairy cows peaked at £1092 and 130p.

There were also 411 Prime lambs forward which averaged 176p/kg overall. The 495 Cast Ewes and Rams sold to a top of £140 for Texel ewes while lighter export types peaked at £71 for Blackfaces.