Dairy calf registrations surge ahead to over 450,000 head

There has been a marked increase in the number of dairy calf registrations this year, new figures show.

Just over 450,000 dairy births have been registered thus far in 2020, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF). This is an increase of 45,779 head or 10% on the corresponding period in 2019.

The jump in dairy calf registrations can be largely attributed to the additional number of dairy dams found on Irish farms; the national dairy herd currently sits just above 1.5 million head.

Up to the week ending February 21, a total of 145,178 dairy calves were registered on farms across the country. This was an increase by 2,548 head of calves or by 2% in comparison to the same week in 2019.

Moving on to beef registrations, some 81,299 calves have been registered to beef dams this year – an increase by 5,321 head or 6.5% on 2019 levels.

Year-on-year calf birth changes (week ending February 21):
  • Total calf registrations: 536,039 head (+51,100 head or +9.5%);
  • Dairy registrations: 454,740 head (+45,779 head or +10%);
  • Beef registrations: 81,299 head (+5,321 head or +6.5%).

Where both dairy and beef calf registrations are considered, there has been a 51,100 head (+9.5%) jump in the total number of calves registered on Irish farms this year.

In total, some 536,039 calves have been registered up to the week ending February 21. Registrations stood at just 484,939 head during the corresponding period in 2019.

Calf exports

On the calf export front, sailings had been disrupted due to the poor weather conditions – causing a backlog of calves – but fortunately boats have been up and running again since Tuesday, February 18.