The total number of beef cows processed at slaughter facilities approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) up to the week ending Saturday, September 11, has dropped by almost 25% when compared to last year, according to Bord Bia.

However, as can be seen in the figures below, this drop in the number of cows processed has began to bounce back following last week’s kill.

According to Bord Bia, as of the week ending Saturday, September 11, the number of heifers processed was also back 6.6% on 2020 levels. This category has also began to bounce back this week.

Looking at the overall beef kill for last week (week ending Saturday, September 18), we see that over 35,000 head of cattle were processed – the highest weekly kill this year.

Weekly beef kill changes (last week versus previous week)

  • Young bulls: 1,484 head (-147 head);
  • Bulls: 614 head (-2 head);
  • Steers: 17,610 head (+333 head);
  • Cows: 6,234 head (+700 head);
  • Heifers: 9,918 head (+750 head);
  • Total: 35,932 head [incl. veal] (+1,681 head).

Looking at the above figures, we can see the most significant increases were seen in the heifer, cow and steer categories respectively.

The overall kill has increased on last week’s figures by 1,681 head to 35,932 head of cattle.

The chart below, shows the number of cattle in each category that have been processed so far this year:

  • Young bulls: 93,981 head;
  • Bulls: 19,817 head;
  • Steers: 465,935 head;
  • Cows: 244,177 head;
  • Heifers: 333,790 head.

As the chart above indicates, steers, heifers and cows make up the largest part of the national kill this year.

Traditionally, the bull kill would have been much higher however, following a number of difficult years for bull finishers with regards to input costs and pricing, many switched to finishing steers instead.