Last week’s beef kill witnessed the number of cattle processed at factories approved for slaughter by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) take a slight dip.

The total number of cattle presented for slaughter (including veal) for the week commencing Monday, November 8, totaled 36,870, down 624 head from the 37,494 head of cattle that were processed at DAFM-approved facilities last week.

Last week’s kill bucks the trend seen over the past few weeks (despite the week of the October Bank holiday) where kill figures had been rising every week.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Young bulls: 2,523 head (+267 head);
  • Bulls: 451 head (-32 head);
  • Steers: 14,630 head (-1,208 head);
  • Cows: 8,449 head (+172 head);
  • Heifers: 10,751 head (+167 head);
  • Total (including veal): 36,870 head ( -624 head).

The most noticeable change in last week’s kill compared to the previous week can be seen in the steer category where over 1,200 less bullocks were processed last week.

Meanwhile, the young bull, heifer and cow categories were all up marginally in throughput numbers.

A rise in the cow kill comes as little surprise at this time of the year as farmers operating spring calving systems would be culling out non-performing cows from the herd, before the next calving season begins.

The fall in kill numbers echo Bord Bia’s predictions on kill figures for the end of this year.

Giving an overview of the current beef trade at a recent Teagasc winter beef seminar, Bord Bia’s beef sector manager, Mark Zieg said: “The very strong demand is still there and supplies will tighten up more for Christmas.”

“Supplies are not going to increase rapidly in the first quarter either, so I would see stability and I think there’s a bit more [scope for beef-price rise] in the market.”

Figures on this week’s kill will be available next week and it will be interesting to see if the falling throughput trend continues.