Thursday, 18 October 2018 09:38

Ireland assembles its agrifood units

Written by  Mark Daniel
Ireland has 1.34 million cows. Ireland has 1.34 million cows.

With the UK’s Brexit scheduled for April 1, 2019, discussions in Ireland are centred on tariffs, with a general call for a ‘soft’ Brexit that would allow present cross-border agreements to apply in the foreseeable future.

On an Enterprise Ireland Study Tour, Dairy News reporter Mark Daniel observed the Irish dairy industry, noting that the country’s food and drink exports are valued at about €12.6 billion, split between international markets at 32% (€4bn), the EU at 33% (€4bn) and the UK at 35% (€4.5bn).

A December 2017 livestock survey showed that the Irish national herd is about 1.34 million dairy cows out of the EU total of 23.5 million head. Numbers increased by 3.7% over the 2016 season to an average herd size of 80 cows and a contribution of 30% of gross agricultural output.

Comprising about 5% of the EU’s total dairy cows and 4% of Eurozone milk supply, herds are mostly Holstein/Friesian with cross-breeding on the increase largely to Jersey sires. 

In 1973 Ireland had about 1.34 million cows in 97,000 herds; today it has 1.34 million cows in 18,000 herds. Average herd size is 80 cows, versus 14 cows per herd in 1973. Much of the increase in cow numbers occurred in 2015 when the milk production quota was dropped; at that time the average herd numbered 65 cows.

Total milk production for the 2017 season was 7 billion litres: 538m L liquid milk (down 10%), 222,000 tonnes of butter, 120,000 tonnes of skim milk production and 205,000 tonnes of cheese. 

Ireland’s milk production represents no more than 1% of world production.

The country claims to be the largest supplier of specialised infant milk formula, particularly to Asian markets.

Looking forward, the Irish Agri-Food Strategy is centred on two key initiatives: Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025. The former seeks to grow food exports to €12 billion by 2020, and to grow milk output by 50% to achieve a Euro market share of 7-8%. 

The Food Wise 2025 is aimed at increasing agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion, increasing the value of primary production by 65% to €10 billion, and creating an extra 23,000 jobs in the agri-food sector.

 

More like this

Where to for the UK?

“On a knife-edge,” is how NZ’s former high commissioner to London, Sir Lockwood Smith, describes the British government’s EU exit plans.

JCB takes on the world

Despite Brexit being foreshadowed as a handbrake on Britain’s exports to Europe, it seems the future holds no fear for construction and farm machinery maker JCB, which has just released impressive year 2017 financial results.

Electric fence relocated from an armchair

It's not uncommon for farms to be a family affair, but the Drumm family at Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland, have taken this to new heights with their own agritech invention.

Meaty matters for NZ

New moves are afoot, this month, to try to resolve the issue of tariff rate quotas (TRQs) which will threaten New Zealand sheepmeat exports to Europe when Britain leaves the European Union (EU) next year.

Heavy lifting eased

Surgery to fuse four discs in his lower back prompted beef farmer Ger Daly, in County Galway, Ireland, to think again about how to do heavy lifting on his farm.

 
 

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

My goodness!

Another day, another ‘milk’ appears on the horizon.

Dwarf breeds impress

Good things often come in smaller packages and it may soon be true for dairy farmers.

 
 

» Connect with Dairy News