Britain's milking herd continues to shrink as new figures show another reduction compared to the same point in the previous year.
As at 1 April 2021, there was a total of 1.67 million cows in the GB dairy herd, according to data published by the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).
This is a 2 percent reduction compared to the same point in the previous year, the equivalent of 32,000 head.
The milking herd has been on steady downwards trajectory for several years now.
By contrast, youngstock - under 2 years old - numbers have been increasing, BCMS figures add.
Youngstock numbers totalled 902,000, an increase of 32,000 head (4%) on the same time last year.
Looking at the data, AHDB Dairy said the GB milking herd continued to decrease in number.
But it said this may begin to 'stabilise' in the future due to the increase in youngstock numbers.
Charlie Reeve, AHDB analyst said: "As more youngstock come through into the milking herd the total milking herd may begin to stabilise and potentially even increase in size."
Splitting the female dairy herd by age group, there were year-on-year drops in most age groups, according to BCMS.
The largest decline in numbers occurred with the 4-6 year group, with a reduction of 22,000 head (4%) on the previous year.