The number of dairy herds in Scotland continues to decline.
The latest figures from the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association (SDCA) reveal there were 891 dairy herds in Scotland at the start of this year – down 27 compared to the start of January 2018.
The average herd size is up six to 201, making it the highest level recorded since records began in 1903.
The total number of milking cows has also increased by 610 to 179,538 – the highest level since 1997.
SDCA secretary Janette Mathie said Lanarkshire lost the most herds, and the south-west of Scotland was still increasing in herd size, although at a slower rate compared to recent years.
“More and more herds are using the milk test for pregnancy checks, which incurs no stress to the cows and is giving good results,” added Ms Mathie.
“2019 will see uncertain challenges for our industry but there is still a lot of long-standing commitment and optimism with increased herd sizes and new dairy units due to start up throughout the year.”
Regional herd numbers included: Aberdeenshire 27; Angus, seven; Argyllshire, 10; Arran, two; Fife, 20; Inverness, one; Kinross, three; Moray, five; Orkney, 17; Outer Hebrides, one; Perthshire, four; Ross and Cromarty, one; and Stirlingshire, 34.