Analysis of the most recent beef kill figures shows that over 25,500 additional cows have been culled by both dairy and suckler farmers to date this year.

Looking at the number of cows processed at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)-approved factories, the most recent data up to the week ending Sunday, May 15, shows that a total of 145,932 cows have been processed so far this year.

This year’s cow kill is up 25,540 cows from the 120,392 cows that had been processed in the same time period last year.

Updated DAFM data also shows the breakdown of these cows and if they are from the dairy herd or the suckler herd. This data is available for the first four months of this year.

Number of suckler and dairy cows slaughtered at DAFM-approved factories in the first four months of 2022 and 2021: (If using app on phone, scroll left-right)

MonthSuckler cows 2022Suckler cows 2021Suckler cull changeDairy cows 2022Dairy cows 2021Dairy cull change
January 8,76810,154-1,38618,49515,180+3,315
February 8,7878,009-77823,24217,184+6,058
March 8,8677,741+1,12626,37520,012+6,363
Total:578 cows22,019 cows

As the data above indicates, in the first four months of this year, over 22,000 extra dairy cows were processed at DAFM-approved factories.

In contrast, the number of suckler cows processed increased by just under 580 cows.

While an exact breakdown of the figures is not yet available for May, grade analysis shows that the trend of growing numbers of dairy cows being culled is continuing with just under 60% of the cows processed last week falling into the P-grade category.

Looking at the overall beef kill, a total of 71,000 extra cattle have been processed as of May 15, this year, compared to the same period last year (excluding veal).

For veal, a total of 28,650 calves under 12 months of age have been processed at DAFM sites to date this year. This is in contrast to last year’s figure when 21,236 veal calves had been processed in the same time period.

The number of heifers processed to date this year is up by 16,500 head (194,700) and the number of steers processed is up 26,245 head (239,342).

Finally, the number of young bulls processed this year is up 1,796 head to 55,957.