Ireland has 9% of the total bovine population of the European Union, according to a report released today (Tuesday, May 17) from Eurostat.

The data shows the “sizeable livestock population” across the EU in December 2021 with 76 million bovines, 142 million pigs, 60 million sheep and 11 million goats.

Eurostat explained that between 2010 and 2021 there have been fluctuations in the population of the four main livestock species.

In 2020, the EU pig population reached nearly 146 million, before declining. However, the population last year was still 2% higher compared to 2010.

The population of bovine livestock reached nearly 80 million in 2016, before decreasing again over the following three years. In 2021, it was roughly 3% lower than in 2010.

The population of sheep and goats sustained a downward trend between 2010 and 2021, falling by 10% and 13% respectively over that period.

Image Source: Eurostat

Eurostat said that the figures show the majority of EU livestock is reared in just a few member states. In most cases, it is the bigger member states that rear the most stock.

  • Spain accounted for 24% of the EU’s pigs, 9% of bovines, 25% of the EU’s sheep and 23% of the goats;
  • France had 9% of pigs, 23% of bovines, 12% of sheep and 12% of goats;
  • Germany accounted for 17% of pigs and 15% of the EU’s bovines, 3% of sheep and 1% of goats.

The report shows that some member states were “relatively specialised”, including Ireland which accounted for 9% of the EU’s bovine population.

Image Source: Eurostat

Denmark accounted for 9% of the EU’s pig population and the Netherlands a further 8%.

Eurostat said that Romania had 17% of the EU’s sheep population and Greece was home to a quarter of the EU’s goats last year.