The beef kill increased slightly last week, ending the five-week consecutive decline in throughput, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

Over the past five weeks, the beef kill has declined steadily and this week’s beef kill increase means that the kill has passed 30,000 head for the first time in four weeks.

During the week ending April 10, the number of cattle killed at Department approved beef export plants stood at 30,602 head, up 1,810 head on the week previous.

The majority of the change occurred due to a rise in cow throughput, which jumped almost 24% last week.

Steer and heifer throughput also increased by 273 head and 544 head respectively, figures from the Department show.

However, young bull throughput dropped by 111 head or 3%, while there was no change in the aged bull kill compared to the week earlier.

But, despite the slight increase in cattle numbers last week, Bord Bia suggests that cattle numbers are likely to continue to remain tight in April, May and June.

Speaking at a recent livestock seminar, Bord Bia’s Joe Burke said that beef cattle supplies will remain tight over the next three months, before throughput increases with the additional dairy stock coming on stream in the second half of the year.

Bord Bia estimate that an additional 50,000-80,000 cattle will be slaughtered in Ireland this year.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: -111 head (-3%)
  • Bulls: -3 head (0%)
  • Steers: +273 head (+2.5%)
  • Cows: +1,212 (+23.6%)
  • Heifers: +544 head (+6.6%)
  • Total: +1,810 head (+6.3%)

Cumulative beef kill

The cumulative number of cattle slaughtered at export plants so far this year is still ahead of last year’s levels.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that the beef kill has been 3% higher this year compared to the same time last year.

The majority of the increase has been young bulls, with the kill up by 31% to the week ending April 10. Steer and heifer throughput has also jumped by 1.7% and 1% respectively.

However despite the overall increase, the number of aged bulls and cows slaughtered have dropped on the same time last year.

Aged bull throughput has declined by 19% (1,875 head), while the cow kill is back 5% (-4,416 head) on the same period in 2015.