In Ireland, there are over 18,000 Dairy farmers milking 1.5million dairy cows.
In 2019, The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) had recorded Co. Cork as having the largest number of dairy cows, at 380,772 (25% of the dairy herd population), followed by Tipperary and Limerick at 177,905 and 119,361 cows, respectively. In 2016, Cork recorded 362,448 dairy cows, followed by Tipperary and Limerick, recording 158,933 and 116,160 dairy cows, respectively.
Since the inception of milk quotas in Ireland in 1984, milk output per cow has increased by 48%. The average litres produced per cow in 1984 was 3,500 litres vs. 5,200 litres in 2014. During this time, the average herd size also increased by 350% from 18 cows in 1984 to 64 cows in 2014. Milk quotas were introduced across the European Union market to slow milk production within the EU, which was rising much faster than demand.
In 2015 Milk quotas were removed to address the considerable increase in consumption of dairy products on the world market; quotas prevented EU producers from responding to the growing demand.