More than 30 dairy farmers left the industry in Scotland in the first half of the year, according to the Scottish Dairy Cattle Association (SCDA).
Figures from the association reveal there are now only 924 dairy herds in Scotland – the lowest number since records began in 1903 and 33 less than January this year.
SCDA data reveals there are 29 herds in Aberdeenshire, eight in Angus, 11 herds in Argyll, one herd in Inverness-shire, five herds in Moray, 19 herds in Orkney, one herd in the Outer Hebrides, one herd in Ross and Cromarty and four herds in Shetland.
Losses from the industry include two herds in Aberdeenshire, one herd in Angus, one herd in Argyll and one herd in Orkney.
Despite the reduction in herd numbers, the total number of dairy cows has increased by 2,622 to 175,928. This is the highest total number of dairy cows since 1997.
The average herd size is the highest since records began at 191.
SCDA secretary, Janette Mathie, said the number of herds that are officially milk recorded had increased by 102 to 649, partly due to financial incentives from the EU and milk buyer and farmers realising the financial benefits of recording such as improved milk quality, lower somatic cell counts and disease and pregnancy testing.
“The next six months will be interesting as we know of a number herds coming out of milk production but we also know of some completely new herds starting up before the end of the year. I think the trend of less herds and more cows per herd will continue,” added Ms Mathie.
She said Ayrshire continued to be the largest dairying county in Scotland with 222 farms milking 34,440 cows, closely followed by Dumfries-shire with 154 herds and 32,185 cows. The counties with the largest average herd sizes were Berwickshire at 568 and Roxburgh at 399.