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CSO farming figures show sheep numbers up 7pc, potatoes down 13.1pc

The survey results, for the 12-month period from June 2011 to June 2012, showed an overall increase of 6pc in cereals.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Updated 2.50pm

THERE HAS BEEN an increase in the sheep, cattle and pig numbers in Ireland, the final results for the Crops and Livestock Survey from the CSO have revealed.

The figures from the Central Statistics Office have shown a significant drop in the land allocated to potatoes, however, which dropped by 13.1 per cent, down from 10.4 hectares in June 2011 to nine hectares in June 2012.

The biggest percentage increase, where livestock was concerned, was sheep, whose numbers increased by over 340,000 in the 12-months to June 2012, with numbers now at 5,170,000. Of this increase, non-breeding sheep accounted for 180,000 (7.8 per cent) while breeding sheep increased by 158,100 (6.3 per cent).

The second biggest percentage increase was cattle, whose numbers increased by 261,100 (four per cent) to a total of 6,754,000. Of this, 131,200 (14.7 per cent) were male cattle under one year and 96,800 (14.4 per cent) were male cattle aged one to two years.

Pig numbers increased by 1.4 per cent, or 21,600, to 1,570,600. During this time, the number of non-breeding pigs increased by 2.3 per cent while the number of breeding pigs decreased by 6.7 per cent.

The number of horses and ponies increased by 5,100 (or 4.8 per cent) to 111,100.

Cereals

The June 2012 results indicate that the total area under cereals increased by 17,900 hectares (six per cent) to 315,400 hectares.

While there was a drop in potatoes, there was an increase in oats of 2,300 hectares (10.7 per cent), barley by 12,100 hectares (6.7 per cent) and the area under wheat by 3,900 hectares (4.1 per cent).

Read: Fodder from France due tomorrow for stricken Irish farmers >

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Paul Hyland

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