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Annual farm census results show steady evolution in Manx farming 23 February 2006

    The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has released its annual census details showing that the growth in beef cattle on the Island is continuing. There are now 9,551 breeding beef cows on the Island, a 44% increase in the last 10 years.

    "The increase in suckler beef cows reflects the deliberate policy of increasing production to meet the needs of the Island's market for quality beef, which is still undersupplied for home-produced beef," said the Minister, Phil Gawne MHK.

    Mr Gawne commented, "I am delighted that we have managed to get this useful information published three months earlier this year. This is a result of hard work by Kevin Mellows and the Agricultural Support team. It provides crucial information to show how farming on the Island is changing, which forms an important part of the Department's policy-making process."

    Dairy cow numbers have falen 10% to 6,712 in the last 10 years, though milk production has increased by 5% over the same period. The Minister commented, "The increased production, despite reduced cow numbers, is a testament to the increasing efficiency of the Island's milk producers, as they have increased yield per cow every year through careful management and breeding."

    Sheep numbers have fallen by 9% over the last 10 years, showing that these have been marginally reduced to allow producers to switch to beef. However, compared to the 44% increase in beef breeding stock, this is a very small reduction.

    This increase in output has been achieved with less labour employed on farms, down by 37% over the last 10 years to just 215 people. Mr Gawne commented, "Allowing for farmers earning a living from agriculture and those employed in processing their products at the Creamery and Meat Plant, farming will be responsible for generating at least 850 jobs, and makes an important contribution to the Manx economy."

    For further information, please contact Mr Edward Clague (telephone 685839)

    23rd February 2006

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