Beef kill falls and prices rise

Last week, some 35,731 cattle were slaughtered in Irish beef processing plants – representing a decrease of 1,366 head on the previous week’s kill, but an extra 1,132 head when compared to the same week in 2019.

Some 9,524 cows were slaughtered – a jump of 102 head compared to the week before and an additional 1,132 head when compared to the cow kill during the same week in 2019.

The bull category witnessed a decrease in throughput. Firstly, the number of young bulls bought by beef processing plants amounted to 2,326 head – a fall of 651 head, while the aged bull category decreased by 68 head – down from 996 head the week before.

Total year-to-date slaughterings for young bulls and aged bulls stand at 93,890 head and 18,047 head respectively.

Another area which recorded a rise in throughput was the steer category. Last week, some 13,564 steers were slaughtered – up from 13,460 two weeks ago; this represents an increase of 86 head.

The steer kill is also operating above last year’s levels at 331,366 head.

Furthermore, the number of heifers slaughtered last week decreased by 805 head and amounted to 9,437 head. So far this year, 283,063 heifers have been slaughtered in Irish beef processing factories.

In terms of prices, quotes for steers have moved to 370c/kg, while heifers are trading at 375c/kg. Farmers that have an in-spec heifer or bullock may be able to secure an extra 5c/kg; but, saying that, factory agents are anxious for stock.

Prices for cows are 290c/kg for P-grading animals and up to 310c/kg for O-grade cows, with those falling into the R-grade category starting at 320c/kg or higher in some plants.

In terms of bulls, O-grading animals are making 350c/kg; R-grade quotes stand at 360c/kg; with U-grades 10c/kg higher at 370c/kg.