Dairy cow numbers up 3.4% while other cow numbers drop by 3.1%

Figures for June 2018 – released by the Central Statistic Office (CSO) – reveal that dairy cow numbers increased by 48,200 (+3.4%) to 1,480,900; whereas overall cattle numbers decreased by 15,000 (-0.2%) to 7,348,000 – between 2017 and 2018.

In comparison, dairy cow numbers increased by a total of 34,800 (+2.5%) to 1,432,700 between 2016 and 2017 – with all cattle numbers increasing by 142,300 (+2%) to 7,363,500.

These figures clarify in number terms the growth in dairy and the reduction in other cattle enterprises.

Also Read: Irish sheep numbers drop by almost 88,000 for 2018

The 2018 figures also reveal the largest number of total cattle was in the south-west region at 1,467,200 with the lowest number being in the mid-east and Dublin region at 735,800.


By a long short, Co. Cork still remains the county with the greatest amount of dairy cows at 378,200 – which has increased by 8,600 or 2.3% from 2017.

Co. Leitrim has not experienced the same growth in dairy like a lot of Irish counties and still remains the county with the least amount of dairy cows, at 2,000 cows – the same as the previous year.

One county which experienced a decrease in dairy cow numbers, was Co. Dublin. Cow numbers dropped from 3,100 in 2017 to 2,900 in 2018 – which is indicative of the county’s strong urban growth.

Source: CSO

However, the vast majority of counties experienced a growth in dairy cow numbers. Co. Tipperary for example has grown numbers by almost 5% from 165,000 to 173,200 and Co. Wexford has grown by 7% from 72,600 to 77,900.

Although, some counties have experienced a much smaller growth in dairy cow numbers than this. Co. Cavan for instance had a slight increase of 200 to 37,500, Co. Galway increased by 800 to 36,200 and Co. Longford by 300 to 10,000 dairy cows between 2017 and 2018.