Beef cattle supplies up 5% in the space of a week

Beef cattle supplies have increased by almost 5% in the space of seven days, recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

During the week ending September 11, almost 34,000 cattle were slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved plants, which is an increase of 1,557 head compared to the week before.

Steer, cow and heifer slaughterings made up the majority of this increase, with throughout of these lots up 924 head, 654 head and 178 head respectively.

However, official figures show that the weekly young and aged bull kill both declined, with young bull slaughterings falling by 8.3%, while the aged bull kill declined by 2.4%.

The rise in cattle supplies can be attributed to the wet weather in the west which has seen many farmers offload cattle to factories due to deteriorating weather conditions.

As a result of the increased supplies, factory prices in the west were 5c/kg lower than the east this week, with the most processors operating west of the Shannon working off a base price of 375c/kg for steers compared to 375/kg in the east.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bull: -173 head (-8.3%)
  • Bull: -15 head (-2.4%)
  • Steer: +924 head (+6.1%)
  • Cow: +657 head (+9.3%)
  • Heifer: +178 head (+2.4%)
  • Total: +1,557 head (+4.8%)

Cattle supplies up 3.1% in 2016

Official figures also show that beef cattle supplies have increased by 3.1% or 33,632 head this year compared to last year.

Young bulls continue to make up the majority of this increase, with supplies up 28.5% or 31,868 head on last year.

The cumulative cow kill is also up on last year, with supplies up by 4.9% or just shy of 11,000 head.

However, despite the increase in cow and young bull throughput, official figures also show that aged bull and steer throughput have declined by 15% (3,882 head) and 1.4% (5,689 head) respectively, while heifer slaughterings remain pretty much on par with last year.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bull: +31,868 head (+28.5%)
  • Bull: -3,882 head (-15%)
  • Steer: -5,689 head (-1.4%)
  • Cow: +10,950 head (+4.9%)
  • Heifer: +318 head (+0.1%)
  • Total: +33,632 head (+3.1%)