The average dairy and suckler herd sizes for 2022 have been revealed by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

The information was revealed in response to a query from Agriland and shows the national suckler and dairy herd positions as of March 31 ,this year.

In the data, DAFM explains that the number of dairy herds were identified by the herds with contracts to supply milk in place on March 31, this year, and also specified that figures are subject to change due to pending birth registrations.

Figures as of March 31, 2022 (if using a mobile phone, scroll left to right to view the full table):

Dairy herd summary:Suckler herd summary:
Number of cowsNumber of herdsNumber of cowsNumber of herds
1 – 259551 – 2544,488
25 – 502,64425 – 508,415
50 – 1006,17650 – 1002,091
100 – 2004,769100 – 200306
200 +1,429200 +57
Total Herds:15,97355,357 Source: DAFM

As can be seen in the table above, the total number of suckler herds in Ireland on March 31, 2022 stood at 55,357.

Meanwhile, the total number of dairy herds in Ireland as of that date stands at 15,973.

Total number of cows in herds on March 31, 2022
Suckler cows:901,503
Dairy cows:1,649,362 Source: DAFM

The figures from DAFM show there are almost 3.5 times more suckler herds in Ireland than there are dairy herds. This is in contrast to the actual number of dairy cows and the number of suckler cows in the country.

On March 31, this year, there was a total of 901,503 suckler cows and 1,649,362 dairy cows in Ireland, according to the department’s data.

When the number of dairy and suckler cows are divided by the number of dairy and suckler herds, respectively, we get a picture of the average herd size in each sector.

The average suckler herd size in Ireland now stands at just 16 cows, while the average dairy herd size in Ireland is now 103 cows.

A total of 44,488 suckler herds have 25 cows or less, while just 955 dairy herds have 25 cows or less.

Meanwhile, 8,415 suckler herds have between 25-50 suckler cows, while 2,644 dairy herds have between 25-50 cows.

2,091 suckler herds have between 50-100 cows, while 6,176 dairy herds have between 50-100 cows.

Just 306 suckler herds have between 100-200 cows, while 4,769 dairy herds have between 100-200 cows.

Finally, 57 suckler herds have over 200 cows, while 1,429 dairy herds more than 200 cows.

The figures reflect the current trends in Irish agriculture and the growing difference in scale between suckler farms and dairy farms.