What are you doing with your male dairy calves?

20 August, 2017

Over the last year, the National Farm Research Unit has interviewed just under 3,000 UK dairy farmers about what they do with their dairy bull calves. The question we asked them was “What are you doing with your male dairy calves?”

Please note that the overall percentages in both Fig 1. and Fig 2. add up to more than 100% due to some farmers choosing more than one option.

Farmers were asked whether they export, cull, sell as stores, sell as calves or finish them on the farm. Results in Fig 1. show that bulls being sold as calves is the most likely outcome, whereas exporting and culling the calves is a less common choice. Sitting in-between these results are being sold as store and finishing on the farm.

Fig 1. Results showing the future of UK dairy bull calves

When looking at the results by herd size, Fig 2. shows that farmers with herd sizes of more than
100 dairy cows sell as calves by 6 percentage points more than farmers with less than 99. Whereas farmers with herd sizes of less than 99 dairy cows sell as stores by a further 8 percentage points than farmers with more than 100.

Fig 2. Results from dairy farmers with a herd size of less than 99 and more than 100