Statistics show some recovery in beef births to 2015 levels

The most up to date figures from the ICBF show that total beef births continue to lag behind 2015 by 2.46% – an overall fall of 21,811 calves.

However, figures for the week ending October 21 show that beef calf births are returning towards the 2015 figure.

Should this increase in beef births continue, it will serve to bolster the overall increase in calf numbers compared to last year, with overall births up 2.2% year-on-year.

Year-on-year calf birth changes:
  • Total calf births: +45,754 head
  • Dairy calf births: +67,565 head
  • Beef calf births: -21,811 head

The overall increase is being led by dairy calvings, figures from the ICBF show, which are up by 67,565 head or 5.53% on last year.

This falls in line with previous figures from this year, which are a strong indicator of increasing dairy calvings on the back of an expanding Irish dairy sector.

Source: ICBF
Source: ICBF

However, further statistics from the ICBF show that the increase in dairy calf numbers is not to be entirely attributed to increasing cow numbers.

Various measures from the ICBF show that the dairy sector continues to have tighter calving intervals and higher calvings per cow.

This year, for example, ICBF data shows that the dairy herd will have produced 0.90 calves for each cow while cows in the beef sector will have produced 0.83 calves.

This can also be linked to the average calving intervals of both sectors, where the beef cows are currently averaging an extra 10 days between each calving compared to their dairy counterparts.

Figures from the ICBF also show the percentage of beef heifers (20%) calving down before 26 months of age is only a third of the dairy heifers (59%) measured on the same metric.