Butter production on Irish dairy farms up over 11% in October

Butter production was up by over 11% year-on-year on Irish dairy farms in October, after recording a decrease in the previous month.

This is according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). In the tenth month of this year, butter production was up 11.6% to 17,000t – compared to the same month in 2016.

In September, butter production figures dropped by 2.8% to 17,900t in the space of 12 months.

This return to positive figures comes at a time when domestic milk intake by creameries and pasteurisers was estimated at 536.1 million litres for October of this year.

This was 7.2% above the corresponding 2016 figure. Meanwhile, the total milk sold for human consumption decreased by 0.2 % to 44.7 million litres in the tenth month of this year – compared to the same month in 2017.

milk production
Image source: CSO

When comparing the 10-month period between January and October, figures show that milk production this year is 8.2% ahead of where it was 2016. A total of 6,642 million litres of milk has been produced on dairy farms across the Republic of Ireland this year.

Where are Ireland’s 350,000 extra dairy cows?

Speaking recently at the National Dairy Conference, Teagasc’s Paidi Kelly outlined how the Irish dairy herd has increased significantly since milk quotas were abolished.

He said: “In 2010, we had just over one million dairy cows in Ireland and in 2017 – seven years later – we’ll average about 1.4 million cows.

That’s an increase of 350,000 cows over a short period of time; most of this rise took place between 2012 and 2016.

Over the past seven years, the greatest increase – approximately 77,000 – in dairy cow numbers was witnessed in Co. Cork.

Kelly added: “There’s about 190,000 extra cows in Munster – a 29% increase on where it was before; there’s over 100,000 extra cows in Leinster; 16,000 extra cows in Connacht; and in the three counties of Ulster, cow numbers have increased by 19,000.”