It may come as no surprise to some but Donegal now officially has the largest number of sheep in Ireland.
Ireland’s breeding ewe flock decreased by 3% in 2018 on 2017 levels, the latest sheep census figures from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine show.
But levels of sheep in Donegal are steady with a total of 504,408 followed by Mayo (418,361) and Galway (408,835).
Kerry had the next greatest number (318,720). Meanwhile, Limerick had the lowest number (21,638).
Due to its big sheep population, Donegal had the highest number of flocks (5,986), followed by Mayo (4,852) while Dublin had the least (201).
Census returns show that in 2018 the number of breeding ewes in the country stood at 2.56 million compared to 2017, when there were 2.64 million breeding ewes.
Ram numbers also decreased, compared to 2017 levels. The figures show that ram numbers were down 2.1% on 2017, with 2,681 fewer rams present on farms in 2018.
In total, as of December 2018, Ireland had 3.73 million sheep (3,732,955) spread across 35,186 flocks, including 2.56 million breeding ewes over 12 months-of-age.
There was an average of 106 sheep per flock in 2018, the census returns show.
69% of flocks had below-average numbers, compared to 68% in 2017.
Census forms for 2019 were sent to 45,432 registered flock-keepers on the department’s database. Returns were received from 40,891, representing a response rate of 90%.Tags: