Throughout 2020, AgriLand has been keeping a close eye on suckler calf registrations as the year progresses.

At the end of 2019 and the onset of 2020, there were a total of 934,273 suckler cows in Ireland – which represented a decline of 42,065 head on 2018 levels.

In May of this year, we looked at the total number of suckler calves born in 2020. At that time, suckler-bred calf registrations were on the up when compared to the same period in 2019.

Mid-May, there were 490,887 calves registered to suckler cows in Ireland in 2020. This represented a 14,357 head increase on the total number of calves registered during the same period last year.

Then, we looked again in July. At the end of that month, 683,565 calves had been registered to suckler cows – representing an increase of 6,610 head when compared to 2019 levels.

But, where are we now?

Well the gap that was visible at the end of August has now been closed and suckler calf registrations are now running behind 2019 levels, as the autumn-calving period continues here on-farm.

Up to the end of August, 727,044 calves were registered – some 919 head behind the same period in 2019 when 727,923 calves had been registered, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) figures.

Total registrations

This brings the total number of calves registered in Ireland to 2,138,685 head when both suckler and dairy births are combined.

On dairy farms alone, there have been 1,411,681 calves registered up to the end of August – well above the comparable period in 2019 when 1,364,318 dairy calves were registered.