Dairy Farming

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th February 2016.

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Photo of Sue Hayman Sue Hayman Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many dairy farmers have gone out of business in each of the last five years.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The table below shows the net change in the number of dairy farms. Data is only available on the total number of dairy farms in June and December of each year, so the table only shows the net change, rather than the number entering and the number leaving dairy farming. The latest data available on the number of dairy farms in England is for June 2015. This is shown below with data for the previous 5 years. The change in the number of farms includes new holdings which have been registered with dairy cattle, holdings that have ceased to have cattle and holdings that have merged.

The number of dairy cows on these dairy farms is also shown below. This shows that despite a 16% decrease in the overall number of dairy farms between June 2010 and June 2015, the number of dairy cows has remained almost unchanged, suggesting consolidation within the industry.


Number of dairy farms(a)

Number of cows in the dairy herd(b)


9 461

1 142 497


9 287

1 147 450


9 041

1 112 459


8 823

1 105 290


8 663

1 104 676


8 503

1 107 045


8 342

1 098 610


8 197

1 124 368


8 092

1 128 548


8 051

1 150 007


7 982

1 148 089

% change Jun15/Jun10



(a) Sourced from Cattle Tracing System. Dairy farms are defined as the number of holdings with more than 10 cows in the dairy herd.

(b) Cows in the dairy herd are defined as female dairy cows over 2 years old in the milking herd (i.e. with offspring).

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