December Livestock Survey Shows Strong Mixed Trends

IRELAND - According to the latest December Survey conducted by the CSO, sheep numbers showed further recovery in 2011. Overall cattle numbers showed little change, although some significant changes were evident across age categories, writes Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia.
calendar icon 28 February 2012
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Cattle numbers unchanged

Cattle numbers are virtually unchanged at 5.92 million head. However, some change in the profile of the cattle herd was evident. Dairy cow numbers were almost three per cent higher at 1.06 million head. The decline in the suckler cows has slowed considerably with only a marginal drop recorded in December.

The number of ‘other’ cattle aged two years and higher were 101,000 head lower. Numbers aged between one to two years are also 79,000 head lower. This would indicate ongoing tight supplies for much of 2012 with cattle supplies to date at export meat plants running around six per cent lower.

The fall away in live exports and a five per cent rise in calf registrations to 2.09 million head during 2011 resulted in a rise of 173,000 head in the number of cattle aged less than one year in December 2011, which will boost finished cattle availability from 2013.

Sheep numbers six per cent higher

Sheep numbers increased by over six per cent to 3.32 million head in December 2011, reflecting a rise in the number of ewes retained for breeding and the retention of lambs for finishing in early 2012. Most encouragingly, the number of breeding ewes recorded a rise of two per cent with the number of ewes less than two years of age increasing by over 13 per cent to 519,000 head. This reflects renewed producer confidence in the sector following the higher lamb prices evident over recent years.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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