12 September 1997

Cattle herd down

LATEST June census figures show a sharp decline in the cattle herd in England as BSE-related schemes take effect.

Total numbers were down 5.2% year on year at 6.45m, with the breeding herd down almost 4% at 2.49m. The dairy herd fell particularly steeply as producers struggled to stay within quota and culled out older cattle.

But the number of beef heifers in calf actually increased, not due to any expansion plans, says the Meat and Livestock Commission, but because of producers desire to breed from their own animals to maintain BSE-free status. &#42