Jump in cattle population driven by high numbers of stock under 24 months

The jump in the cattle population in the Republic of Ireland has been driven by higher numbers of stock under 24 months, latest figures show.

The number of cattle totalled 6,613,400 head in December 2016, an increase of 191,200 head or 3% compared to the same month in 2015, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

This increase in numbers can be attributed to a jump in the total number of cattle aged under 24 months, it said.

Last December the number of cattle aged between 12-24 months increased by 118,200 head, or a jump of 7.1%, compared to December 2015, figures show.

An increase of 50,800 head of cattle aged under 12 months, which represents a jump of 2.5%, was also reported.

Dairy cow numbers witnessed an increase of 4.5%, or 55,300 head, in December.

Meanwhile, bulls recorded a drop in numbers of 32.2% last December, which equated to a decrease of 9,200 head compared to December 2015.

The CSO’s results for cattle were obtained from Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine’s Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system.

The Irish sheep and pig population

Figures from the CSO show that sheep numbers were up 113,400 head, or an increase of 3.4%, to 3,438,200 last December.

Non-breeding sheep numbers increased by 119,500 head (14.2%), while the breeding sheep population fell by 6,100 (0.2%) last December.

The results of the December livestock survey also showed that the population of ewes under two-years-old increased by 4,900 head, while the number of ewes over two-years-old decreased by 12,100 head.

Meanwhile, the ram population recorded an increase of 1.4% last December, to bring the the total to 74,600.

Source: CSO
Source: CSO

In total, Irish pig numbers increased by 3.6% to 1,527,800, figures from a specialist survey conducted by the CSO show.

Both breeding and non-breeding pigs recorded an increase in numbers last December, of 4.6% and 3.5% respectively.