Growing dairy cow numbers and the fall in beef births looks to have almost evened out total calf births for 2019 and 2018.

To date, 1,892,318 calves (dairy and beef) have been registered compared to 1,900,058 during the same period in 2018 – according to data released by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF).

Almost 1.9 million calves have been registered on Irish farms, so far, this year – a decrease of 0.4% or 7,740 head on the same period in 2018.

This fall in total calf births is largely attributed to the decrease in total beef-calf registrations, which are down by 31,990 head or 5.18% – so far this year – to 586,111 head.

Last year – during the same period – total beef births stood at 618,101 head.

One of the reasons for this fall in beef births is the decline of the national suckler herd, but it must be noted that it is still relatively early in the year and many more beef calvings will occur as the year progresses.

In contrast, total dairy-calf births have increased by 24,250 head or 1.9% – on the same period in 2018 – to 1,306,207 head for 2019.

2018 vs. 2019 calf birth changes:
  • Dairy: +24,250 (+1.9%);
  • Beef: -31,990 (-5.18%);
  • Total: -7,740 (-0.4%).

Looking at the figures on a weekly basis, up until the week ending June 14, 10,218 dairy births were registered – compared to 12,095 during the same period in 2018.

This was a decrease of 1,877 head or 16% which is reflective of the improvements being made in the calving pattern of the national dairy herd.

Similarly, when compared to the same week last year beef calf births fell from 21,394 head in 2018 to 19,157 head in 2019. This was a fall of 1,877 or 11%.