Dairy expansion drives calf births up by 46,000 in first five months of 2016

Increased dairy cow numbers have driven an increase in the number of calf births last year, new figures show.

According to ICBF figures, calf births are 2.7% higher to the week ending May 27, on the corresponding period last year.

So far this year, there have been 46,059 more calf births in Ireland when compared to the same time in 2015.

The majority of this increase follows a jump in dairy calf registrations, which are up 67,574 head or 6.2% so far this year.

Source: ICBF
Source: ICBF

The increase in dairy births coincides with the much-heralded expansion on Irish dairy farms after the abolition of milk quotas last year.

Further growth in Irish national milk production is forecast in 2016. Teagasc says following the estimated 10% increase in production in 2015, further growth of 7% is forecast in 2016.

The increase in dairy calf births also follows a 10% increase in dairy cow numbers last year.

According to official figures, the Irish dairy herd stood at almost 1.23m head in December 2015, which is more than 100,000 head higher than the year before.

Figures from the CSO also show that the beef herd also increased in 2015, but the increase was only 1.1% which is much smaller than the growth witnessed in the dairy herd.

However, despite the increase in beef cow numbers, births from the suckler herd have declined this year.

Figures from the ICBF show that the number of beef calves registered has dropped by 21,515 head on last year’s levels.

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