Ireland Agricultural Census Updated Report

The statistics provide estimates of crop areas and numbers of livestock on active farm businesses on the survey date of 1 June 2022. The statistics are compiled from a survey of farm businesses augmented by administrative data (Animal Public Health Information System, APHIS, cattle tracing system). In response to COVID-19, the data collection for the Farm Census moved entirely online since 2020. In 2022 the survey remained online with minor changes due to feedback. A large response was achieved from the online-only collection and focussed telephone follow-up. This has enabled detailed farm census statistics to be produced.

The main changes between June 2021 and June 2022 are:

Total area farmed: The total area farmed (excluding common land) was approximately one million hectares (1,043,270 hectares), an increase of less than 1% compared to 2021.

Cattle: Total cattle numbers have increased by less than 1% to 1,686,999. The number of both beef and dairy cows remained relatively consistent (246,240 beef and 316,775 dairy cows).

Sheep: There was an increase of just 3% in breeding ewes compared to 2021, with numbers increasing to 997,227. Overall, the total number of sheep recorded was 2.1 million, which was a just over 3% rise from June 2021.

Pigs: Total pig numbers recorded in June 2022 increased by just over 3% to 738,540 compared to June 2021.

Poultry: Total poultry numbers on farms at June 2022 decreased by 16% from 2021 levels with 20.6 million birds recorded. A combination of economic and animal health factors driving the change in the sector. Total number of laying birds saw a small increase of 6% whilst broiler numbers decreased by 25% and other poultry by 73% compared to June 2021.

Crops: The total area of crops grown in Northern Ireland in 2022 was approximately 48,139 hectares, an increase of 4% from 2021. The total area of cereals (32,681 hectares) grown in 2022 increased by 7% from 2021. Wheat crops increased by 12% to 8,625 hectares, Winter and Spring Barley increased by 8% and 4% respectively, while Oats increased by 5% from 2021, at 1,973 hectares.


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