In 2021, Scotland had a dairy cow population of 174,000 head, while Co. Tipperary had a population of 187,300 dairy cows.

The UK as a whole has 73,500 more dairy cows than the Republic of Ireland.

This is based on data from Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the Central Statistics Office (CS0).

Based on the CSO data, there were 1,604,500 dairy cows in the Republic of Ireland in 2021, with Co. Cork accounting for the largest population of dairy cows with 397,000.

The UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) has a combined dairy cow herd of 1,849,000, based on the data from AHDB.

Dairy cows

Looking at these figures in a little more detail we can see that England has the largest population of cows with 1,102,000, followed by Northern Ireland with 318,000.

Wales comes has the third-largest dairy cow population with 255,000 head, followed by Scotland with 174,000 head.

This means that Co. Cork has more dairy cows than Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Looking at the figures in a little more detail we can see that Co. Tipperary in 2021 had a dairy cow population of 187,300, which is larger than Scotland’s entire dairy cow population.

Dairy industry

These figures highlight how key to the Irish agricultural sector that dairy is, with a large portion of dairy products being exported.

Dairy products were exported to 147 markets worldwide, and more than half of these exports where sent to countries outside the EU and UK

Dairy exports in 2021 exceed €5 billion, with €926 million exported to the UK – accounting for 18% of exports.

International destinations accounted for 51% of exports, up three points on the previous year.