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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Results revealed for Northern Ireland’s most recent Agricultural Census

Graphic showing results from June 2023 Agricultural Census for Northern Ireland

The results from the 2023 Agricultural Census for Northern Ireland were released recently by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

The statistics provide estimates of crop areas and numbers of livestock on active farm businesses on the survey date of 1 June 2023.

The statistics are compiled from a survey of farm businesses augmented by administrative data (source from the Animal Public Health Information System (APHIS), cattle tracing system).

In response to COVID-19, the data collection for the Farm Census has moved entirely online since 2020.

In 2023 the survey included- the addition of some questions modules to help answer specific policy queries. 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 2022 and June 2023 are:

Total area farmed: The total area farmed (excluding common land) was approximately one million hectares (1,042,318 hectares), similar to 1,043,270 hectares in 2022.

Cattle: Total cattle numbers have increased by less than 1% to 1,673,345. The number of both beef and dairy cows remained relatively consistent (236,082 beef and 319,346 dairy cows).

Sheep: There was a decrease of 2% in breeding ewes compared to 2022, with numbers decreasing to 973,718. Overall, the total number of sheep recorded was approximately 2 million, which was a 3% fall from June 2022.

Pigs: Total pig numbers recorded in June 2023 decreased by 85 to 682,339 compared to June 2022.

• Poultry: Total poultry numbers on farms at June 2023 increased by 24% from 2022 levels with 25.6 million birds recorded. An alteration in animal health factors, which positively affected production, drove the change in the sector. Total number of laying birds saw an increase of 11% whilst broiler numbers increased by over 31% and other poultry by almost 294% compared to June 2022.

Crops: The total area of crops grown in Northern Ireland in 2023 was approximately 47,777 hectares, a decrease of less than 1% from 2022. The total area of cereals (31,803 hectares) grown in 2023 decreased by 3% from 2022. Wheat crops decreased by 45 to 8,309 hectares, Winter and Spring Barley decreased by just over 3% and 2% respectively, while Oats decreased by 3% from 2022, at 1,922 hectares.

The full reported can be read by clicking/pressing here.


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