Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (345)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

345. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the current strength of the dairy herd; the extent to which numbers have fluctuated in the past ten years to date; if he remains satisfied that income from the sector will remain positive for the foreseeable future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7756/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Data on the national herd is published twice yearly by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), on the basis of two categories; dairy and other cows.

The following tables detail the number of dairy cows in Ireland using final data extracted from the CSO June Livestock Surveys for 2019. Figures presented have been rounded to the nearest decimal point.

CSO Livestock Survey June 2019:

Year

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

(000 Head) Dairy Cows*

1,071

1,117

1,141

1,163

1,226

1,296

1,398

1,433

1,481

1,505

*Dairy cows are those kept principally to produce milk for human consumption.

Provisional figures for the June 2020 Livestock Survey estimate the dairy cow numbers at 1,567.7 (000 Head) representing a 4.2% increase on June 2019 (1504.8). Final datasets from the June 2020 will be published by the CSO later this year.

The long-term fundamentals of the global dairy market are strong, with increasing demand from developing countries for nutritious and sustainable protein sources. It is expected that global demand for dairy produce will outpace supply in 2021. While significant challenges continue to impact the industry, it has demonstrated ongoing resilience in the face of challenges, including Brexit, COVID-19, price volatility and market turbulence, and to environmental and climate change objectives. I have every confidence that the Irish dairy sector is well-placed to continue to capitalise on the opportunities presented by growing demand for its produce ensuring a sustainable income for all elements in the sector. My Department will continue to work with industry stakeholders to build upon our current achievements and work to to secure new market opportunities and supports to benefit our primary producers and agri-food business.