The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has just released its Statistical Yearbook for Ireland today (Tuesday, October 20), with a chapter devoted to agriculture.

Among the statistics outlined for least year (2019) are included the annual figures for livestock numbers over the course of the last 10 years.

In this article, we take a look at the figure for cattle, both dairy and non-dairy.

As of 2019, there were just over 7.2 million head of cattle in the country. These were comprised of: just over 1.5 million head of dairy cows; 999,700 head of other cows; and just over 4.7 million head of other cattle.

The numbers for total cattle, non-dairy cows and other cattle are all decreases on recent years. 2015 was the most recent year to have less total cattle than last year, and the number of non-dairy cows hasn’t been as low as last year since before 2010, as far back as the CSO Yearbook’s figures go.

Dairy cows is the only category to have increased in number continuously since 2010, and there were almost 500,000 head more of them in 2019 compared to 10 years ago.

The 4.7 million figure for other cattle (not including cows), hasn’t been as low as it was in 2019 since 2015.

The table below illustrates the 10 year trends:

Data source: CSO


In the years leading up to and since the abolition of the milk quota in 2015, a steady year-on-year increase in the number of dairy cows on Irish farms has been observed.

Also Read: Map: How many dairy cows were in Ireland last year…and where?

The number of dairy cows in 2019 was 1,504,800, an increase of 1.6% on 2018.

In 2019, Co. Cork had the largest number of dairy cows at 379,300 head while Co. Leitrim had the smallest number of dairy cows at 1,900 head.

As expected, southern counties had the most dairy cows. After Cork, counties Tipperary, Limerick and Kerry accounted for 175,100, 118,800 and 101,600 head respectively.