Rise in cattle and sheep numbers

Published: 13 Sep 2012 15:000 comments

Cattle numbers have climbed by two per cent in the last year with the biggest rise in the beef cow herd of four per cent.

Dairy cows rose by one per cent between June 2011 and June 2012. This coincided with better beef prices. Despite this, the preliminary results of the June 2012 agricultural census revealed that the beef cow herd was still 20 per cent below the 1998 level of 345,000. Sheep numbers also rose, by four per cent in the breeding flock. Improved profitability during 2011 is believed to have been the main driver behind the expansion of the flock.

The pig herd rose by four per cent with fattening pigs increasing by two per cent while the number of laying hends were six per cent higher than in 2011 but broilers were two per cent lower.

There was a major shift from winter to spring cereals because of the poor sowing conditions of 2011.

Maize planting decreased significantly with a 15 per cent fall. Another trend is the increase in part-time labour on farms, rising by one per cent while the number of farmers continued to shrink by one per cent.

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