Historically high milk producer prices slowed down the reduction of the dairy cow population in the European Union in 2022. The decline in the dairy herd in the EU has slowed down. This is shown by the preliminary results of the livestock census for November and December 2022. According to the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat), a total of 20.09M dairy cows were reared in the Member States at that time, which is down 0.6% (124.67K) compared to 2021. Between 2019 and 2021, the annual rate of decline was more than double what it is today, averaging 300K animals, -1.4%. The significant decline in France was partly responsible for the further decline in the EU dairy herd. The herd decreased by 91.17K, -2.7%, to 3.23M head compared to 2021. Most dairy cows were raised in Germany, with 3.81M animals, down 0.6% (23k) from November 2021.
Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue on February 22 confirmed the nitrates banding options that will be available to dairy farmers this year. It comes as all dairy farmers can now use the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) website to confirm which option they wish to select for 2023, along with their associated band. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) said that farmers should submit information to confirm the 2023 excretion rate band for their herd by March 16, 2023.
In the fourth quarter of 2022 (Oct-Dec), calf registrations to dairy dams reached 355.62K head according to BCMS data. This is marginally up by 0.6% (2.2K head) in Q4 2021 and 0.9% up (3.24K head) on the 5-year average. Despite the high-cost environment facing farming businesses in 2022, the minimal change in quarterly dairy calf registrations in the year suggests farmers were able to maintain herd sizes. Although the milking herd continued to shrink through 2022, the rate of decline was slower than in previous years, possibly supported by ample availability of young stock. On a full-year basis, total births to dairy dams in 2022 were only 0.1% (930 head) up in 2021, but 2.7% (39.21K head) upon the 5-year average and the highest number of registered births in over a decade.
The Idaho Senate has approved a bill lifting restrictions on some provisions in the state’s raw milk law. In a 34-0 vote, one member was absent, the Senate approved revisions that would make so-called herd shares. Such arrangements allow farmers to sell a share of a herd or a share of a single animal to people who wish to receive raw, unpasteurized milk. The legislation, Senate Bill 1036, now heads to the state’s House of Representatives. If approved by the House, the governor would have to sign the bill into law.
Milk production during January increased slightly more than 1% because of better output and more cows. USDA says production in the US for January totaled more than 8.62M MT (19B pounds), with production per cow up 8.16M MT (18 pounds) from last year. The herd size increased by 38K head in the year and 9K from the previous month. The USDA February report also includes an annual number of licensed dairy farms for 2023, which was down nearly 2K from 2022, -6%.
A meeting of the working group on the direction of "Pedigree livestock breeding" under the Advisory Committee on the Agro-Industrial Complex of the EEC was held. Within its framework, a draft of changes to the methodology for assessing the breeding value of cattle in the dairy direction of productivity was considered. As a result of the event, the EAEU member countries reached agreements in principle to agree on the text of the methodology. At the same time, in mid-March 2023, it is planned to hold the final meeting of the working group before sending the methodology for further agreement and approval.
Zimbabwe is moving towards milk self-sufficiency as the dairy herd has reached 39K with 91.4M liters of raw milk produced in 2022 up from 79.6M produced in 2021. This was revealed by Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development permanent secretary Dr. John Basera recently. Dr. Basera said imports of milk powder had since declined by 17% over this period, dropping from 8.9M kg to 7.4M kg.