Over a quarter of a million cattle aged over 36 months were sold in marts across the country last year, data from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has shown.

134,610 beef cattle over 36 months were sold, including 125,527 cows and 9,083 bulls and steers.

The department said that 115,603 dairy cows over 36 months were sold, along with 1,208 dairy bulls and steers.


The data shows that of the 251,421 cattle sold through the marts last year, 121,294 were not slaughtered within 30 days of the sale.

However, the department noted that this figure is subject to change as those 30 days are yet to lapse.

In 2021, 123,633 of the 221,377 cattle aged over 36 months sold through marts had not been slaughtered within 30 days of being sold.

The information was released following a recent parliamentary question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue by independent Kerry TD, Michael Healy-Rae.

He told Agriland that he sought the data ahead of bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing rules being brought in by the department of agriculture.


Under the new regulations, animals that are moving from farm to farm or through a mart must have been TB tested in the last six months; or be tested within 30 days after the movement.

The initial phase of implementation will see the requirement for a 30-day pre- or post-movement test applied to cows and male animals over 36 months of age. This requirement will come into effect on February 1.

Although the data provided through the parliamentary question does not specify how many of the cattle were TB tested in the six months prior to being sold, deputy Healy-Rae said it indicated how many cattle could be impacted by the new rule.

The Kerry TD said that he is concerned about the extra cost and time demands that will be made of farmers as a result of the changes to TB testing.

The parliamentary question was tabled after Deputy Healy-Rae was contacted by the Irish Beef and Lamb Association (IBLA).

The farming organisation is also concerned about the impact the new regulations will have on farmers.