The Deputy should note that there are various definitions available of a ‘suckler cow’. Data from the AIM system below is based on the definition of a beef cow which has calved at least once in its lifetime. Furthermore, many farmers with suckler cows have another main enterprise on their farms, and so would not be defined as predominantly ‘suckler farmers’.
Bearing in mind those caveats, my Department’s Animal Identification System (AIM) records all births, movements and disposals in accordance with EU requirements. The AIM system reports data on the bovine herds on a county basis. According to the AIM system as of the 31st of December 2017 there were 5,372 herds in County Cork as a whole that had at least one beef cow in their herd, which had calved at least once in its lifetime. Note that these figures may be revised when the Department publishes the AIM annual Bovine Statistics Report in March.
I am keenly aware of the importance of the suckler sector to Ireland's rural economy and the wider agri-food industry. The sector is an integral component to the overall vitality and continued strength of beef farming in rural Ireland. My Department currently provides a range of income and investment supports to suckler farmers, including direct payments and grant schemes such as BPS, ANC, GLAS and TAMS, as well as the Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP).