The number of dairy cows increased by 22,000 last year on 2012 numbers, according to figures released today by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The figures for December show the national dairy cow herd is now standing at 1,082.5 million head. In two years the figure is up some 47,000 on December 2011 figures, this represents a 4.5 per cent increase over the period.

December figures for the suckler herd are much less positive. According to the CSO figures the numbers of “other cows” decreased by 42,800 or 3.8 per cent over 2013.

In total the number of cattle in the country increased by 55,800 last year or 0.9 per cent to 6,309,100 when compared to December 2012. The figures also show the total number of cattle under one years old decreased by 93,300, or 4.7 per cent compared to December 2012.

The results of the CSO livestock survey for December also show the total number of sheep was 3,324,100 a decrease of 106,200 or 3.1 per cent on December 2012.

The CSO outline this was mainly due to decreases of 76,200 or 8.9 per cent in non-breeding sheep and a 37,800 fall or 7.4 per cent in the numbers of ewes under two years.

Total pig numbers also decreased by 1.6 per cent to 1,468,500 in 2013. The figures show the number of non-breeding pigs was down 1.8 per cent while the number of breeding pigs showed a slight increase at 145,200, up just 0.1 per cent.

The table below shows the result of the CSO December 2013 livestock survey:

 Cattle  Sheep    Pigs
2012 6,253.20 3,430.30 1,493.00
2013 6,309.10 3,324.10 1,468.50
% change 0.9 -3.1 -1.6

Image: Cows on grass. Photo O’Gorman Photography.