Over 26,000 fewer suckler calves registered in 2019; but dairy numbers increase

The number of suckler-bred calves born – so far this year – has fallen by 26,237 head when compared to the same period in 2018, figures from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) indicate.

However, dairy calf registrations are running marginally ahead of last year’s levels – up 4,436 head compared to 2018.

Firstly, looking at suckler calf registrations in more details, during the week ending March 22, 2019, some 27,172 beef calves were registered – back from just under 31,000 head for the same week in 2018.

The total number of suckler calves registered so far this year stands at 174,400 head. In the corresponding time frame in 2018, some 200,637 beef calves were registered – a 13% decrease.

A closer look at the figures available from the ICBF show that during the week ending March 23, 2018, some 30,921 suckler calves were registered that week; this was back 3,673 head when compared to the same week in 2017.

Looking at this on a yearly basis, in 2018 some 205,055 beef calves had been registered up to and including the week ending March 23, 2018, compared to 210,437 head in 2017 – a difference of 5,382 head.

Dairy and total calf births

Moving to dairy calf registrations, 76,482 dairy calves were registered during the week ending March 22, 2019, – an increase of 5,366 head on the corresponding week in 2018.

Over 853,000 dairy calves have been registered so far this year – an increase of over 4,400 head when compared to the same period in 2018.

When combined, total calf registrations – both suckler and dairy – are running behind last year’s levels. During the week ending March 22, 2019, 103,654 calves had been registered.

Overall, the total number of calves registered so far this year amounts to 1,027,593 head. But, in 2018, by the same date, some 1,049,394 head of calves had been registered.

Calf registrations up to and including week ending March 22, 2019:
  • Beef births: 174,400 head (-26,237 head);
  • Dairy births: 853,193 head (+4,436 head);
  • Total births: 1,027,593 head (-21,801 head).

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