The number of beef cattle presented for processing at factories approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) increased slightly last week.

According to weekly beef kill figures released by the department on Tuesday, October 26, the number of cattle processed as of week commencing October 18, stood at 37,043 head (including veal) .

This is up 466 head from the 36,577 head of cattle processed last week. However, when looking at the kill from the same week last year, we can see that the kill is some 715 head of cattle behind the amount processed in the same week of 2020 (37,758).

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Young bulls: 2,147 head (+436 head);
  • Bulls: 464 head (+34 head);
  • Steers: 16,812 head (-195 head);
  • Cows: 6,934 head (-324 head);
  • Heifers: 10,604 head (+489 head);
  • Total: 37,043 head (+466 head).

An analysis of the above kill figures indicates that both the young bull and heifer numbers appearing at factories increased last week while the steer kill has witnessed a drop for the third consecutive week.

Last week’s kill was the highest weekly throughput of cattle so far this year and was the first time this year the kill surpassed 37,000 this year.

The cumulative beef kill to date this year now stands at over 71,000 head of cattle behind last year, however, over the past number of weeks this lag in kill numbers has not been getting any higher – which is surprising seeing as Bord Bia has anticipated a drop in the national kill of over 100,000 cattle compared to last year’s figures.

It remains to be seen how the total beef kill figures for this year will conclude, however it is likely to drop further behind last year’s levels.

While last week’s kill has increased, this week’s kill will likely see a drop as a result of the four-day week following the bank holiday.