Table: How have dairy cow numbers changed per county from 2011 to 2020?

The decade from 2011 to 2020 witnessed a continuous year-by-year increase in the number of dairy cows in the Republic of Ireland, according to the ICBF.

Highlighting this in a table breaking down the rise in cow numbers on a county-by-county basis, the federation said:

“The national dairy cow population is continually increasing and has done so each and every year over the last decade. ​

Total dairy cow numbers for 2020, as of June 30, stood at 1,570,180 – breaking the 1.5 million barrier for the second successive year.

“This figure rose 3.7% from 1,514,617 in 2019.”

In a table, the ICBF illustrated the national dairy cow population figures for the last 10 years broken down by county.

Source: ICBF

The table highlighted that, as expected, 2015 and 2016 saw the largest year-on-year increase over the past decade, with rises of 7.3% and 6.7% respectively.

2013 – a couple of years prior to the 2015 abolition of milk quotas – saw the lowest increase.

Commenting on the county breakdown, particularly the “dairy dominance” of the “Rebel County”, the ICBF noted:

“Cork remains home to the largest proportion of Irelands’ dairy herd with a total of 388,831 dairy cows (25%).

This figure is over 200,000 higher than the dairy cow population in Co. Tipperary, which is the second most highly populated county with a figure of 178,253.

“Followed by Limerick with a cow population of 122,873, closely behind is Kerry with 105, 979 dairy cows.

“Leitrim remains the county with the smallest population of dairy cows in the country with just 2,660. Dublin is coming in with 2,683 making them the second lowest populated county in Ireland for dairy cows,” the federation said.