Beef kill breaks 36,000 head

Last week, some 36,182 cattle were slaughtered in Irish beef processing plants – representing an increase of 3,900 head on the previous week’s kill and an extra 1,750 head when compared to the same week in 2019.

Some 8,691 cows were slaughtered – a jump of 490 head compared to the week before and an additional 625 head when compared to the cow kill during the same week in 2019.

The bull category also witnessed an increase throughput. Firstly, the number of young bulls bought by beef processing plants amounted to 3,175 head – a rise of 307 head, while the aged bull category increased by 275 head – up from 469 head last week.

Total year-to-date slaughterings for young bulls and aged bulls stand at 82,374 head and 14,753 head respectively.

Another area which recorded a rise in throughput was the steer category. Last week, some 13,104 steers were slaughtered – up from 11,029 two weeks ago; this represents an increase of 2,075 head.

The steer kill is also operating above last year’s levels at 277,099 head.

Furthermore, the number of heifers slaughtered last week increased by 754 head and amounted to 10,468 head. So far this year, 242,299 heifers have been killed in Irish beef processing factories.

In terms of prices, quotes for prime cattle continue at 360c/kg. Farmers that have an in-spec heifer or bullock may be able to secure an extra 5c/kg; this depends on the number ready to market and factory-farmer relationship.

Prices for cows are 280c/kg for P-grading animals and up to 290c/kg for O-grade cows, with those falling into the R-grade category starting at 310-315c/kg or higher in some plants.

In terms of bulls, O-grading animals are making 340c/kg; R-grade quotes stand at 350c/kg; with U-grades slightly higher at 360c/kg.