There has been a marked increase in the number of calves registered to dairy cows this year, new figures show.

Just over 680,000 dairy births have been registered in 2018, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF). This is an increase of 22,796 head or 3.4% on the corresponding period in 2017.

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 somewhere in the region of 1.4 million head. From current levels, dairy cow numbers are also expected to increase by 2% each year until 2025.

Moving on to beef registrations, some 138,738 calves have been registered to beef dams this year – a drop of 4,915 head or 3.4% on 2017 levels.

Year-on-year calf birth changes (week ending March 9):
  • Total calf registrations: 823,026 head (+17,881 head or +2.2%);
  • Dairy registrations: 684,288 head (+22,796 head or +3.4%);
  • Beef registrations: 138,738 head (-4,915 head or -3.4%).

When both dairy and beef calf registrations are considered, there has been a 17,881 head (+2.2%) jump in the total number of calves registered on Irish farms this year.

In total, some 823,026 calves have been registered up to the week ending March 9. Registrations stood at just 823,026 head during the corresponding period in 2017.