In 2015, quotas were abolished and the expansion period began in Ireland for dairy. Since then, milk production has increased by 50% – which is largely due to the increase in dairy cow numbers in the country.

In 2015, dairy cow numbers stood at 1,295,800, but the central statistic office (CSO) revealed dairy cow numbers for last year stood at 1,480,900 – an increase of 14%.

This was a total increase of 48,200 (3.3%) dairy cows from 2017 and a huge increase of 83,000 (6%) dairy cows from 2016.

Dairy cows now make up 20% of the total number of cattle in the country.

Looking at total cattle, the numbers hit 7,348,500 last year, which was a decrease of 0.2% from the previous year. Although, between 2016 and 2017, total cattle numbers increased by a total of 142,300 (2%).

County By County

Co. Cork still remains the most popular county for dairy at 378,200 cows, making up 25% of the total amount of dairy cows in the country. With regard to total cattle, Co. Cork has 1,125,000 making up 15% of the total cattle in the country.

The second highest county for dairy cows is Co. Tipperary at 173,200 – making up 12% of the total amount.

Following on from this is Co. Limerick at 118,900 cows – an 8% contribution to the total dairy population.

Next in line is Co. Kerry at 100,600 dairy cows – making up almost 7% of the total number.

The least popular counties for dairy are Co. Leitrim at 2,000 (0.14%) and Co. Dublin at 2,900 (0.2%) cows respectively.