Cattle population declined by 8.5 % in 2009
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According to data from the Bovine Register, cattle stocks on 1 December 2009 registered a decrease of 8.5 per cent or 1,513 heads compared to one year earlier. Cattle less than one year old declined by 5.1 per cent or 225 heads over the corresponding period in 2008. The register also revealed that cattle between one and two years of age and cattle over two years (excluding cows) declined by 17.6 per cent (813 heads) and 11.8 per cent (152 heads) respectively. Cows, representing 43.8 per cent of the total cattle stock, registered a decrease of 4.3 per cent, or 323 heads.
In 2009, 367 holdings were engaged in rearing cattle, of which 146 were mainly focused on milk production. This category accounted for 14,319 heads, or 88.0 per cent of the total cattle stock.
Of all the cattle farms, those having between 3 and 29 heads on their holding remained the dominant category (46.9 per cent). These farms comprised 1,750 heads or 10.8 per cent of all cattle stock. On the other hand, 15.0 per cent of all cattle farms had more than 100 heads on the holding. These holdings accounted for 9,931 heads, or 61.1 per cent of the total cattle stock.
Of all the cattle farms, 84.9 per cent with a herd size ranging from 3 to 29, reared cattle for meat production. The total amount of cattle on non-dairy farms within this group amounted to 1,447 heads, or 82.7 per cent of all cattle within this herd size. On the other hand, farms with a herd size of 100 heads or more were dairy producers.
Compared to December 2008, cattle stocks fell by 9.4 per cent in Malta and 6.7 per cent in Gozo and Comino. Overall, 10,787 heads (66.3 per cent) were found on Maltese farms. From a geographical perspective, 37.5 per cent of all cattle found in Maltese farms were located in the South Eastern District. The cattle population in Gozo and Comino amounted to 5,477 heads or 33.7 per cent of the total cattle stock.