The number of dairy farmers in Scotland has continued to decline in the first six months of the year.
Figures from the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association (SDCA) reveal the number of Scottish dairy herds, as of July 1, now stands at 902.
This is down from 918 at the start of the year and 924 on July 1, 2017.
Despite the decline in herd numbers, the trend of increasing cow numbers has continued and dairy cow numbers now stands at 179,931.
This is up 1,003 from January and the average herd size now stands at 199.
Figures reveal one herd stopped in Aberdeenshire in the past year, leaving 28 in operation, while another stopped in Angus, leaving seven.
In the past year, the number of dairy farms in Orkney also dropped by two to 17.
Numbers in other regions remained static with 20 herds in Fife, one in Inverness-shire, three in Kinross-shire, five in Moray, one in the Outer Hebrides, four in Perthshire, one in Ross and Cromarty, four in Shetland and 34 in Stirlingshire.
SDCA secretary, Janette Mathie, said: “The wet spring, lack of forage and the uncertain milk price proved too much for some farmers and they made the decision to sell up whilst others have made a huge investment for their future within the dairy industry and increased cow numbers accordingly.
“Many dairy farmers took advantage of the EU-funded incentive scheme to start milk recording last year and have found the information invaluable in managing their herds, especially with added health and pregnancy services and the ability to check details of their herd by using smart phone apps or management programs. Indications are that cow numbers will continue to increase with a few new farms due to start milk production before the end of 2018.”