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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Gerard Reilly (+353) 21 453 5700 Angela Hickey (+353) 21 453 5316
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 0791-3133
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Livestock Survey December

December 2014

       Livestock Numbers
  Cattle Sheep   Pigs
% change-1.00.0+2.5

Dairy cow numbers up 4.2% in December 2014

Figure 1
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The results of the December 2014 Livestock Survey show that the number of dairy cows increased by 45,300 (+4.2%) while other cows decreased by 43,900 (-4.0%).Total cattle numbers decreased by 66,000 (-1.0%) to 6,243,100. See Table 1.

Further comparisons with the December 2013 results indicate that:

  • The total number of pigs was 1,505,000 an increase of 36,500 (+2.5%). Non-breeding pigs were up 2.7% and breeding pigs up 0.8%. See Table 3.
  • Total sheep numbers showed a slight increase at 3,324,900, up just 800 head. The number of other sheep (non-breeding) was up 43,400 (+5.6%) while breeding sheep numbers were down 42,600 (-1.7%). See Table 2.
  • Ewes under 2 years decreased by 23,900 (-5.0%) and ewes 2 years and over decreased by 18,800 (-0.9%). See Table 2.
Table 1 Number of Cattle
DescriptionDecember 2012December 2013December 2014   Change 2013 - 2014
' 000 ' 000 %
Total cattle6,253.26,309.16,243.1-66.0-1.0
    Dairy cows11,060.31,082.51,127.745.34.2
    Other cows1,127.91,085.11,041.2-43.9-4.0
    Cattle male: 2 years and over160.2207.6199.4-8.2-3.9
    Cattle female: 2 years and over262.6289.1304.515.45.3
    Cattle male: 1-2 years736.9803.8755.9-47.9-6.0
    Cattle female: 1-2 years880.0910.4892.7-17.7-1.9
    Cattle male: under 1 year987.6914.2901.1-13.1-1.4
    Cattle female: under 1 year999.0979.1984.65.50.6
  Total cattle male1,923.41,962.91,892.3-70.6-3.6
  Total cattle female4,329.94,346.24,350.74.60.1
1 Dairy cows are those kept principally to produce milk for human consumption.
2 Bulls used for breeding purposes only.
Table 2 Number of Sheep
DescriptionDecember 2012December 2013December 2014   Change 2013 - 2014
' 000 ' 000 %
Total sheep3,430.33,324.13,324.90.80.0
  Breeding sheep2,576.32,546.32,503.6-42.6-1.7
    Ewes: 2 years and over1,989.11,998.81,980.1-18.8-0.9
    Ewes: under 2 years511.8474.0450.1-23.9-5.0
  Other sheep854.0777.8821.343.45.6
Table 3 Number of Pigs
DescriptionDecember 2012December 2013December 2014   Change 2013 - 2014
' 000 ' 000 %
Total pigs1,493.01,468.51,505.036.52.5
  Breeding pigs145.1145.2146.41.20.8
    Gilts in pig20.719.
    Sows in pig82.679.482.53.13.9
    Other Sows for breeding25.729.828.3-1.5-5.1
    Gilts not yet served115.216.015.2-0.8-5.2
  Other pigs1,347.91,323.31,358.635.32.7
    Pigs 80kg and over228.8242.0238.2-3.8-1.6
    Pigs 50kg and under 80kg298.7273.4296.823.48.6
    Pigs 20kg and under 50kg412.6380.6384.53.91.0
    Less than 20kg407.7427.2439.011.82.8
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.

Sheep: The December 2014 results for sheep are based on the trends obtained by comparing the returns from the December 2014 sample with the 2013 returns for the same 8,100 farms and applying these trends to the December 2013 figures.

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


Rounding     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.





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