The total number of calves born on Irish farms in 2021 has increased by over 40,000 when compared to figures from 2020.
According to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation’s (ICBF’s) live statistics on calf births, a total of 2,406,541 calves were registered on Irish farms in 2021.
The number of calves born in 2021 is up 41,326 head from the 2,365,215 head of calves born in 2020, according to ICBF figures.
However, a closer look at these figures shows us that while the number of dairy-bred calves registered last year has increased, the number of suckler-bred calves registered in 2021 dropped when compared to 2020 figures.
According to ICBF figures, the total number of suckler-bred calves registered in 2021 stood at 839,074 head – back 13,452 head from the 852,526 head of suckler-bred calves registered in 2020.
While the number of suckler-bred calves registered last year dropped in numbers compared to the year previous, the number of dairy-bred calves increased by a noticeable 54,778 head, according to ICBF figures.
The total number of dairy calf births registered in 2021 was 1,567,467, compared to 1,512,689 head in 2020, according to ICBF figures.
Other statistics of note in the calf registration figures is the increase in the number of pedigree registered calves born in 2021.
A total of 112,704 calves were pedigree registered last year – up 6,326 head from the 106,378 pedigree registered calves recorded on ICBF’s database in 2020.
When the ICBF data for last year is compared to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) data, we see that the 2021 calf birth numbers were the highest on record from department figures, which are available as far back as 2002.
The department’s AIM data for last year will be made available later this year and will give more detail on the composition of the 2021 calf progeny.