Cattle numbers down 33,800 head in 2019 while sheep and pig figures rise

The total number of cattle in Ireland decreased by 33,800 head in December 2019, compared to the same month the previous year, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Published today, Friday, February 14, the results of the December 2019 Livestock Survey do, however, show a considerable increase in the number of sheep in the country.

The total number of cattle decreased by 33,800 – down 0.5% – to 6,559,700 head, from the December 2018 figure of 6,593,500 head, the survey results show.

In a breakdown of these, the number of dairy cows increased by 56,700 (up 4.1%) while other cows decreased by 25,500 (down 2.6%).

The total number of cattle under one year decreased by 37,500 ( down 1.9%) while cattle two years and over (excluding cows and bulls) increased by 23,000 (up 5.2%).

The total number of male cattle fell 3.1% – some 61,200 head – from 1,959,400 head in December 2018 to 1,898,200 head at the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, the total number of female cattle rose by 0.6% – 27,300 head – from 4,634,100 to 4,661,400 head in the same time-frame, the statistics office highlighted.

On the flip side, it was noted by the CSO that the provisional estimate for the total number of sheep was 3,908,300 head – an increase of 109,800 – or 2.9% – on December 2018.

The number of “other sheep” increased by 76,700 (up 6.9%) and “breeding sheep” increased by 33,100 head (up 1.2%).

Pig numbers also increased by 2.6% to 1,613,300. Breeding pigs increased by 1.4% and non-breeding pigs increased by 2.7%, the office said.