There has been a dramatic increase in the number of cattle slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants this year.

As it stands, some 900,200 head of cattle have been processed in Irish plants this year. This is a considerable jump when compared to throughput levels observed in both 2016 and 2015.

Back in the corresponding period in 2016, some 857,885 head of cattle had been slaughtered in approved export plants. This figure stood at 862,832 head in the same period in 2015.

In addition, data taken from the Department of Agriculture also shows that supplies are approaching a four-year high.

Just over 903,000 cattle were slaughtered in approved beef plants during the first 28 weeks of 2014. And with approximately 58,000 extra cattle set to come on stream before the year ends; the highs seen in 2014 look set to be surpassed in the not so distant future.

Cumulative beef cattle supplies:

Source: Department of Agriculture

Why are cattle supplies up this year?

There are two main reasons why cattle supplies are expected to increase by approximately 100,000 head this year.

Firstly, there was an increase in the number of calves registered in 2015, with registrations rising by over 13,000 head on the previous year; this was driven by the removal of dairy quotas in the first half of the year.

In addition, live cattle exports also declined by 60,000 head during 2015 – leading to more animals being carried on Irish farms until slaughter.

However, on a positive note, some 2,000 heavy bulls are expected to be loaded for Turkey next week.

Last month, AgriLand exclusively revealed that some 2,000 bulls will be exported to a non-EU market – Turkey – in the not so distant future.

Purcell Brothers, a Waterford-based exporting company, will ship 2,000 forward cattle to the non-EU market; the consignment is expected to depart at the end of July.