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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Paul Deane (+353) 21 453 5560 Carmel Hinchion (+353) 21 453 5272 Lisa Horan (+353) 21 453 5791
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 0791-3133
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Livestock Survey December

December 2019

       Livestock Numbers
  Cattle PigsSheep
% change-0.5+2.6+2.9

Sheep Numbers up 2.9% in December 2019

Figure 1
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The results of the December 2019 Livestock Survey show that the provisional estimate for the total number of sheep was 3,908,300 an increase of 109,800 (+2.9%) on December 2018. The number of Other sheep increased by 76,700 (+6.9%) and breeding sheep increased by 33,100 (+1.2%). See Table 3.

Pig numbers increased by 2.6% to 1,613,300. Breeding pigs increased by 1.4% and non-breeding pigs increased by 2.7%. See Table 2.

The total number of cattle decreased by 33,800 (-0.5%) to 6,559,700. The number of dairy cows increased by 56,700 (+4.1%) while other cows decreased by 25,500 (-2.6%). The total number of cattle under 1 decreased by 37,500 (-1.9%) while cattle 2 years and over (excluding cows and bulls) increased by 23,000 (+5.2%). See Table 1.

Table 1 Number of Cattle
DescriptionDecember 2017December 2018December 2019   Change 2018 - 2019
' 000 ' 000 %
Total cattle6,673.66,593.56,559.7-33.8-0.5
    Dairy cows11,343.31,369.11,425.856.74.1
    Other cows1,018.3982.3956.9-25.5-2.6
    Cattle male: 2 years and over3172.6188.7206.117.49.2
    Cattle female: 2 years and over4247.9255.2260.95.62.2
    Cattle male: 1-2 years823.2813.6779.4-34.2-4.2
    Cattle female: 1-2 years969.0976.1962.0-14.1-1.4
    Cattle male: under 1 year1,008.6948.5906.4-42.1-4.4
    Cattle female: under 1 year1,077.91,051.41,
  Total cattle male2,017.21,959.41,898.2-61.2-3.1
  Total cattle female4,656.44,634.14,661.427.30.6
1 Dairy cows are those kept principally to produce milk for human consumption.
2 Bulls used for breeding purposes only.
3 Excluding Bulls.
4 Excluding Dairy cows and Other cows.
Table 2 Number of Pigs
DescriptionDecember 2017December 2018December 2019   Change 2018 - 2019
' 000 ' 000 %
Total pigs1,616.41,572.21,613.341.12.6
  Breeding pigs150.2143.0145.02.01.4
    Gilts in pig20.619.
    Sows in pig84.778.
    Other Sows for breeding28.929.328.1-1.2-4.0
    Gilts not yet served114.815.316.51.17.5
  Other pigs1,466.21,429.21,468.339.12.7
    Pigs 80kg and over276.5259.1288.929.811.5
    Pigs 50kg and under 80kg322.6315.9310.0-5.9-1.9
    Pigs 20kg and under 50kg417.2417.3417.80.50.1
    Less than 20kg449.9436.9451.614.83.4
1 Gilts of at least 50kg liveweight intended for breeding but not yet served.
Table 3 Number of Sheep
DescriptionDecember December December    Change 2018 - 2019
' 000 ' 000 %
Total sheep3,981.83,798.53,908.3109.82.9
  Breeding sheep2,809.02,690.02,723.133.11.2
    Ewes: 2 years and over1,995.11,980.22,026.946.62.4
    Ewes: under 2 years728.2627.9612.2-15.7-2.5
  Other sheep1,172.81,108.51,
1 New Series from 2017 see Background Notes.
2 Provisional.

Background Notes


This release presents estimates for livestock numbers (cattle, sheep and pigs) in December 2019 at State level. The estimates for cattle and sheep are obtained from administrative data from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The estimates for pigs are based on returns from the CSO December Pig Survey.


Cattle: The results for cattle are obtained from DAFM Animal Identification and Movement (AIM) system. This system was introduced at the beginning of 2000 and involves electronically recording data on animal movements.

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

Sheep: The estimates for sheep are obtained from DAFM National Sheep & Goat Census undertaken on 31st December 2019. The 2019 results from the census are provisional. Final figures will be published on our StatBank by the end of May, 2020. Click here for a link to StatBank Table AAA06 Farm Animals in December by Type of Animal showing livestock numbers including sheep. The estimates from December 2017 represent a break in the data series previously published.

The DAFM National Sheep and Goat Census is carried out under EU Regulation 21/2004 which obliges member states to carry out a census of sheep and goats annually. The first census took place in 2005.

Rounding: As a result of rounding, there may be slight discrepancies between the sum (or difference) of the constituent items and the total shown. Percentage changes have been calculated using actual figures.

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