The national beef kill continues to fall with throughput currently some 4% lower since the start of the year compared to 2014.

According to latest statistics from the Department of Agriculture the beef kill last week totalled 26,729 head which was some 8% lower than the 29,340 head of cattle killed in the corresponding week in 2014.

To date in 2015 the Department statistics show that some 689,026 head of cattle have been slaughtered, some 32,630 head less than over the same period in 2014.

The cattle trade remains strong on the back of continued good demand coupled with the tight supplies, according to Bord Bia’s latest market update.

It also says that the trade is relatively steady across our key export markets.

This week the IFA says prices are up 5-10c/kg on the back of strong factory demand. It says factories are quoting a steer base €4.30/kg and a heifers base €4.40/kg.

Bord Bia has said that an increase of almost 50,000 head in live cattle exports in 2013 combined with a drop of more than 100,000 head in calf registrations point to a significant tightening in finished cattle supplies in 2015.

In its outlook for the beef sector in 2015 it said these developments would leave export availability standing at around 480,000t, a drop of more than 8%.

Prime cattle supplies in the UK are also expected to be tighter over next six months according to Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

It says that prime beef cattle supplies are tightening. Over the week ending May 23 Scottish abattoirs handled almost 8% less slaughter cattle (of all types) then they did the same week last year – and supplies in England/Wales were down by 4% too.