The cumulative beef kill at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) approved plants up to the week ending Sunday, December 19, stood at a total of 1,643,719 head of cattle (including veal).

The amount of cattle processed to date this year is running 79,947 head of cattle – or 4.64% – behind figures from the same time period in 2020, according to DAFM’s latest figures.

According to Bord Bia’s estimates, the year is set to finish with over 100,000 fewer cattle processed this year than in 2020.

Beef kill changes

CategoryCumulative beef kill including week commencing December 13, 2021Cumulative beef kill including week commencing December 7, 2020Difference in throughput to date
Young Bull124,609133,869-9,260
Veal (V)20,99526,916-5,921
Veal (Z)1,6131,542+71
Source: DAFM

Last week’s beef kill:

  • Young bulls: 3,500 head;
  • Bulls: 491 head;
  • Steers: 11,290 head;
  • Cows: 8,636 head;
  • Heifers: 10,271 head;
  • Total (including veal): 34,223 head.

Looking at the table above, we see the heifer category has seen the most significant drop in throughput numbers this year.

All categories have dropped in numbers this year with the exception of the Veal Z category – which accounts for a very small proportion of the kill (0.1%) .

The Veal Z category accounts for the veal carcasses of animals aged from eight months to less than 12 months.

The reduced numbers of cattle appearing for processing has undoubtedly been one of the many factors which this year gave rise to an increased beef price.

Looking to next year and there seems to be no cause for immediate concern on factory prices, with quotes likely to open in January 2022 at similar levels to the close of this year.