Back to Top

Central Statistics Office

Search currently unavailable

 Skip navigation

Extra information
For more information on this release:
E-mail: Fiona O'Callaghan (+353) 21 453 5705 Angela Hickey (+353) 21 453 5316
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 Visit, the portal to Ireland's official statistics On-line ISSN 0791-3133
CSO statistical release, 26 February 2013, 11am

Livestock Survey December

December 2012

       Livestock Numbers
  Cattle Sheep   Pigs
% change+5.5%+3.3%-3.9%

Cattle Numbers up 5.5% in December 2012

Figure 1 LSD - Livestock Numbers
go to full release

The results of the December 2012 livestock survey show that the total number of cattle was 6,253,200 an increase of 327,900 (+5.5%) on December 2011.  This was mainly due to increases in male cattle 1 to 2 years (+17.0%), male cattle under 1 year (+9.5%) and female cattle 1 to 2 years (+8.4%). See Table 1.

The total number of sheep increased by 109,000 (+3.3%) to 3,430,300. This was due to increases of 56,900 (+7.1%) in other sheep, 57,100 (+3.0%) in ewes 2 years and over and 2,000 (+2.7%) in rams.  See Table 2.

The total number of pigs in December 2012 was 1,493,000, a drop of 3.9% since December 2011. The number of non-breeding pigs decreased by 57,400 (-4.1%) and breeding pigs decreased by 2,600 (-1.7%). See Table 3.


Table 1 Number of Cattle
DescriptionDecember 2010December 2011December 2012   Change 2011 - 2012
' 000 ' 000 %
Total cattle5,917.75,925.36,253.2327.95.5
    Dairy cows11,006.9 ³ 1,035.6 ³1,060.324.62.4
    Other cows 1,090.8 ³1,083.0 ³1,127.944.94.1
    Cattle male: 2 years and over248.9174.9160.2-14.7-8.4
    Cattle female: 2 years and over313.8287.1262.6-24.5-8.5
    Cattle male: 1-2 years691.4629.7736.9107.217.0
    Cattle female: 1-2 years828.8812.0880.068.08.4
    Cattle male: under 1 year786.0902.0987.685.69.5
    Cattle female: under 1 year908.6966.0999.033.13.4
  Total cattle male1,768.81,741.51,923.4181.810.4
  Total cattle female4,148.94,183.84,329.9146.13.5
1 Dairy cows are those kept principally to produce milk for human consumption.
2 Bulls used for breeding purposes only.
3 Revised.
Table 2 Number of Sheep
DescriptionDecember 2010December 2011December 2012   Change 2011 - 2012
' 000 ' 000 %
Total sheep3,122.03,321.33,430.3109.03.3
  Breeding sheep2,419.12,524.22,576.352.12.1
    Ewes: 2 years and over1,893.11,932.01,989.157.13.0
    Ewes: under 2 years457.3518.8511.8-6.9-1.3
  Other sheep702.8797.1854.056.97.1
Table 3 Number of Pigs
DescriptionDecember 2010December 2011December 2012   Change 2011 - 2012
' 000 ' 000 %
Total pigs1,500.41,552.91,493.0-60.0-3.9
  Breeding pigs150.9147.7145.1-2.6-1.7
    Gilts in pig19.
    Sows in pig89.488.982.6-6.4-7.1
    Other Sows for breeding25.923.425.72.39.9
    Gilts not yet served115.015.915.2-0.7-4.7
  Other pigs1,349.61,405.31,347.9-57.4-4.1
    Pigs 80kg and over248.9219.7228.89.14.1
    Pigs 50kg and under 80kg295.6335.0298.7-36.3-10.8
    Pigs 20kg and under 50kg399.3402.7412.610.02.5
    Less than 20kg405.7447.9407.7-40.2-9.0
1 Gilts of at least 50kg liveweight intended for breeding but not yet served.

Background Notes


Coverage    Farms where the agricultural area used was at least one hectare (2.47 acres) are included in the December Livestock Sample Survey. Farms with less than one hectare may also be included if they were engaged in intensive production.

Definition    A farm is defined in accordance with the definition adopted for the EU surveys as

                      a single unit, both technically and economically, which has a single management 

                      and which provides agricultural products.


Cattle: The results for cattle are obtained from Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM) Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system. This system was introduced at the beginning of 2000 and involves electronically recording data on animal movements. Information on cattle numbers and on flows into and out of the cattle population has been available from this system since December 2002.

Sheep: The December 2012 results for sheep are based on the trends obtained by comparing the returns from the December 2012 sample with the 2011 returns for the same 7,900 farms and applying these trends to the December 2011 figures.

Pigs: A specialist pig survey was conducted by the CSO due to the intensive nature of this activity.


Precision    As the figures in the text have been rounded to the nearest 100 units there may be slight discrepancies between the sum (or difference) of the constituent items and the total shown. Percentage changes have been calculated on actual figures.


upArrowHide Background Notes

Scan the QR code below to view this release online or go to