The number of suckler cows in the country was over 40,000 lower in June 2021 compared to June 2020, according to the latest livestock survey figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The total cattle numbers were up by 44,500 in June of this year compared to the same month of 2020, for a slight increase of 0.6%.

The total number of cattle in the country at the close of June this year was 7,358,900, according to the CSO.

The number of dairy cows was up by 36,800 (an increase of 2.4%) to 1,604,500 compared with June 2020, while the number of ‘other cows’ (almost all of which are suckler cows) dropped by 43,000 (a decrease of 4.4%) to 940,300.

The total number of cattle less than two years old has risen by 132,700 since June 2020, for an increase of 3.4%.

The figures for June this year were broken down as follows:

  • Male cattle aged one-two years – 864,300 (up 9.4%);
  • Female cattle aged one-two years – 1,035,300 (up 2.9%);
  • Male cattle aged under one year – 1,027,900 (up 1.5%);
  • Female cattle aged under one year – 1,118,000 (up 1.3%).

In contrast, the number of cattle aged two years and over decreased by 80,300 (a 10.1% decline) compared with June 2020.

At the end of June this year, male cattle aged two years or over numbered 363,600 (11.2% less than in June 2020), while female cattle in the same age bracket stood at 354,600 (8.8% less).

Bulls (for breeding purposes) numbered 50,400 in June 2021, a decline of 3.5% compared to June 2020.

Beef kill

The number of cattle slaughtered in Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine-approved Irish beef plants last week mirrored the previous week’s kill, with only a few extra cattle processed last week.

For the week ending September 25, 35,967 cattle were slaughtered at department-approved meat processing plants – up a very marginal 35 head on the previous week.

Looking at the kill figures from last week, starting with young bulls first, the number of these animals increased by 170 head and amounted to 1,654 head. Aged bulls decreased ever so slightly to total 591 head.

Taking a look at steers, the total number of bullocks processed amounted to 17,214 head, which represents a decrease of 396 head.