The number of Aberdeen Angus calves born on Irish farms has increased by 93% since 2011, according the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM’s) Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) Bovine Statistics Report for 2021.

The AIM report showcases a number of trends in the overall Irish bovine herd over the past decade, from 2011 – 2021.

The report shows that overall annual calf births have increased by 16.6% since 2011, with the biggest yearly increase in 2015 when calf births grew by 6.23% on year-prior levels.

However, the growth in calf births is slowing. In the last five years, calf births have grown by 4.6%.

Beef sires vs. dairy sires

The number of calves born to beef-breed sires increased by 17% from 2011 to 2017, but since then, has decreased by 0.25%, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the number of calves born to dairy-breed bulls has increased by 15% since 2011.

Most popular sire

The Friesian bull has been the most popular sire breed in Ireland over the past 10 years, siring on average 33% of the annual calf crop.

webinar on calf registration
A Friesian calf

The peak year was 2013 when Friesian bulls sired 35% of the calves born that year. 2021 witnessed the largest increase in Friesian births since 2017, with an increase of 6.3%.

Beef sires

The number of Aberdeen Angus calves born each year has increased by 93% since 2011. Angus is now the most popular beef sire in Ireland. In 2021, Angus accounted for 17% of all calves in Ireland.

Hereford bulls sired nearly 11% of all calves born in 2021, compared to just over 6% in 2011.

In contrast, Charolais calf births have fallen by 22% and Belgian Blue births have fallen by over 50%.

The report shows that in 2011, Charolais bulls sired 18.5% of all calves. In 2021, this figure had fallen to 12.3%. Belgian Blue bulls sired 5% of all calves in 2011 and in 2021, sired just 2%.