Which county had the largest proportion of suckler herds in Ireland in 2016?

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, recently released figures for the entire number of suckler herds in the country in 2016.

These figures included a county-by-county breakdown of the 75,854 suckler herds across Ireland last year.

A suckler herd was defined as a herd that had a birth registered to one or more dams of a beef breed – based on data from the Department’s Animal Identification and Movement system.

The dam was also required to be 18 months or older at the time of the calf’s birth.

Minister Creed released the data on the request of Fianna Fail’s Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue.

Counties Galway, Cork and Mayo proved to have the highest proportion of suckler herds in the country last year; accounting for close to 10% of the total each.

Meanwhile, counties Dublin, Louth and Carlow reported the least amount of suckler herds; with barely 2.5% of the total number of suckler herds in Ireland in 2016 between them.

Source: Department of Agriculture
Source: Department of Agriculture

The suckler sector is a vital component of Ireland’s rural economy and the provision of support for it is of crucial importance, Minister Creed said.

The current range of supports provided by my Department to suckler farmers represents a balance between direct income support and measures designed to improve its competitiveness and sustainability.

“The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is firmly established. Its benefits are already clearly being seen and its credibility as a progressive and meaningful scheme for suckler farmers is well known.

“I am very conscious of the importance of improving the quality of the Irish suckler herd. The BDGP along with other measures introduced by my Department, such as the Mart Modernisation Scheme, are making a positive contribution to this.

“Commercial farmers making breeding decisions for their beef herds are now basing these on both economic and scientific data, which is easily accessible to them when purchasing replacement stock using Eurostar data displayed at mart ringsides,” Minister Creed said.