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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 2016

       Livestock Numbers
  Cattle Sheep   Pigs
% change+3.0+3.4+3.6

Cattle Numbers up 3.0% in December 2016

Figure 1
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The results of the December 2016 Livestock Survey show that the total number of cattle was 6,613,400 an increase of 191,200 (+3.0%) on December 2015. This was mainly due to increases of 118,200 (+7.1%) in Cattle 1-2 years, 55,300 (+4.5%) in Dairy cows and 50,800 (+2.5%) in Cattle under 1 year. See Table 1.

Further comparisons with the December 2015 results indicate that:

  • Sheep numbers were up 113,400 (+3.4%) to 3,438,200. Other sheep (non-breeding) were up 119,500 (+14.2%) and breeding sheep down 6,100 (-0.2%). See Table 2.
  • Ewes under 2 years increased by 4,900 (+1.1%), while ewes 2 years and over decreased by 12,100 (-0.6%). See Table 2.
  • Total pig numbers increased by 3.6% to 1,527,800. Breeding pigs increased by 4.6% and non-breeding pigs increased by 3.5%. See Table 3.
Table 1 Number of Cattle
DescriptionDecember 2014December 2015December 2016   Change 2015 - 2016
' 000 ' 000 %
Total cattle6,243.16,422.26,613.4191.23.0 
    Dairy cows11,127.71,239.91, 
    Other cows1,041.21,053.21,042.0-11.2-1.1 
    Cattle male: 2 years and over199.4173.5162.7-10.7-6.2 
    Cattle female: 2 years and over304.5241.3239.3-2.0-0.8 
    Cattle male: 1-2 years755.9762.6824.561.88.1 
    Cattle female: 1-2 years892.7897.3953.656.46.3 
    Cattle male: under 1 year901.1982.01,011.329.33.0 
    Cattle female: under 1 year984.61,043.71,065.321.62.1 
  Total cattle male1,892.31,946.92, 
  Total cattle female4,350.74,475.44,595.5120.12.7 
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 2014December 2015December 2016   Change 2015 - 2016
' 000 ' 000 %
Total sheep3,324.93,324.83,438.2113.43.4
  Breeding sheep2,503.62,485.92,479.7-6.1-0.2
    Ewes: 2 years and over1,980.11,946.41,934.3-12.1-0.6
    Ewes: under 2 years450.1465.9470.94.91.1
  Other sheep821.3839.0958.5119.514.2
Table 3 Number of Pigs
DescriptionDecember 2014December 2015December 2016   Change 2015 - 2016
' 000 ' 000 %
Total pigs1,505.71,474.51,527.853.33.6
  Breeding pigs147.0140.1146.66.54.6
    Gilts in pig19.519.918.8-1.0-5.2
    Sows in pig82.578.478.90.50.6
    Other Sows for breeding28.326.
    Gilts not yet served 115.214.615.71.17.3
  Other pigs1,358.61,334.41,381.246.83.5
    Pigs 80kg and over238.2239.2259.620.48.5
    Pigs 50kg and under 80kg296.8290.3285.5-4.8-1.6
    Pigs 20kg and under 50kg384.5396.9409.913.03.3
    Less than 20kg439.0408.0426.218.24.5
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 2016 results for sheep are based on the trends obtained by comparing the returns from the December 2016 sample with the 2015 returns for the same 7,800 farms and applying these trends to the December 2015 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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