Dairy cow numbers up 10% in December 2015 on the previous year – CSO
The number of dairy cows in Ireland increased by 10% in December 2015 on the year earlier, recent figures from the Central Statics Office (CSO) show, bringing the total number of dairy cows to 1.24m.
These figures show that the total number of cattle present in Ireland during December 2015 was 2.9% higher than the corresponding period in 2014, as cattle numbers stood at 6.4m head.
Previously, data from the CSO had shown that an increase in dairy cow numbers lead to a corresponding decrease in the national beef herd. However, this was not the case in 2015.
The total number of beef cows in Ireland was 1.05m during this period, it shows.
The majority of the increase in cattle numbers came from the rise in dairy cow numbers, but there was also a marked increase in the number of cattle aged under one year of age.
Figures presented by the CSO show that the numbers of these cattle increased by 140,000 head (+7.4%) in December 2015 on the same period in 2014.
This rise occurred as there was a higher number of calvings recorded in both the national dairy and the beef herd in 2015, compared to the year previous.
Many industry commentators suggest that this rise will result in more cattle coming available for slaughter in the latter half of the year.
Bord Bia predicts that an additional 60,000-80,000 cattle will come on stream in the second half of 2016, following a tightening of supplies in April and May.
The figures from the CSO also suggest this, as it shows that the number of cattle aged between two years and over (excluding cows and bulls) decreased by 89,100 head (18%) in December 2015 on the year before.