Farm animal numbers dip by six million
THERE are six million fewer animals on Irish farms than there were a decade ago.
Census figures show a dramatic decline in the amount of livestock since the EU broke the link between subsidies to farmers and the amount of food produced.
Sheep numbers fell very steeply with just five million sheep on Irish farms in 2010, compared to 7.5 million in 2000, the Central Statistics Office Census of Agriculture 2010 reveals.
The number of poultry dropped from almost 14 million a decade ago to 11 million. There's also 200,000 fewer pigs in Ireland, down from 1.7 million to 1.5 million.
However, cattle numbers held up comparatively well, falling by 6pc, from over 7 million to 6.6 million.
There are now around 24 million animals on Irish farms, compared with more than 30 million a decade ago.
However, the number of farms in the country has fallen only marginally from 141,527 in 2000 to 139,829, and average farm size has grown.