Beef cattle supplies pass the one million head mark

Over one million cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland so far this year, new figures show.

Figures taken from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database show that some 1,028,351 cattle have been slaughtered up to the week ending August 13.

When compared to the corresponding period in 2016, that’s an increase of 51,307 head or 5.3%.

In terms of throughput, the combined steer and heifer kill accounted for more than 63% of all of the cattle slaughtered in Ireland between January 1 and August 13.

Just over 376,000 steers and 278,000 heifers have been marketed through approved beef export plants this year; that’s a combined jump of almost 43,000 head or 6.9%.

In addition, there has been a marked increase in cow slaughterings. Some 226,221 cows have been slaughtered this year – an increase of 18,880 head or 9.1% on the corresponding period in 2016.

However, there has been a fall in the number of aged bull and young bull slaughterings. Aged bull throughput has declined by 1,605 head and young bull supplies are down by 11,171 head.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 124,107 head (-11,171 head or -8.3%);
  • Bulls: 17,282 head (-1,605 head or -8.5%);
  • Steers: 376,238 head (+28,588 head or +8.2%);
  • Cows: 226,221 head (+18,800 head or +9.1%);
  • Heifers: 278,225 head (+13,707 head or +5.2%);
  • Total: 1,028,351 head (+51,307 head or +5.3%).

What are factories paying?

Beef factories, for the most part, have succeeded in their quest to bring steer quotes down to 380c/kg this week.

As it stands, the majority of plants are offering 380-385c/kg for steers on the grid. However, those operating at the higher end have suggested that 380c/kg will be their offering as the week draws to a close.

In addition, heifer prices have also come under increased pressure and most buyers are now offering 390-395c/kg to secure supplies.

Despite the factory cuts being imposed on prime cattle, cow prices have remained relatively firm in recent weeks.

For the most part, buyers are offering 345-350c/kg for R-grade cows and 330-340c/kg for O-grade cows. This comes as the demand for manufacturing beef, in other words mince, remains relatively strong. Click here for a detailed breakdown of prices