Cattle slaughterings at the highest point in the decoupled-payment era

In line with industry predictions, the number of cattle slaughtered in Ireland exceeded the 1.7 million head mark in 2017.

Just over 1.747 million cattle were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved beef plants last year – a jump of over 105,000 head or 6.4% on 2016 levels.

Furthermore, the additional supplies recorded in 2017 brought the yearly Irish beef kill to its highest point since 2003, when over 1.77 million animals were slaughtered in Irish plants.

Last year’s increase was predominately driven by jumps in steer and heifer slaughterings, which rose by 54,104 head (8.6%) and 33,722 head (8%) respectively. Furthermore, an additional 15,456 cows were slaughtered in Ireland last year as opposed to the year earlier.

Year-on-year beef kill changes (2017 versus 2016);
  • Young bulls: 195,972 head (+224 head or +0.11%);
  • Bulls: 28,201 head (-1,285 head or -4.3%);
  • Steers: 681,173 head (+54,104 head or +8.6%);
  • Cows: 374,019 head (+15,456 head or +4.3%);
  • Heifers: 460,236 head (+33,722 head or +8%);
  • Total: 1,747,059 head (+105,490 head or +6.4%).

Current factory prices

After the Christmas break, factories are now back slaughtering and purchasing cattle. For the most part, the trade has left off from where it left before Christmas.

Factories have reopened and most procurement managers are now working off a base price of 400-405c/kg for steers and 410-415c/kg for heifers.

Some buyers are still willing to pay an additional 5c/kg on top of base quotes for in-spec animals, which brings steer and heifer prices to 410c/kg and 420c/kg respectively.

Cow prices remain relatively stable this week and farmers selling P-grade cows can expect to be offered 315-330c/kg. Buyers are starting negotiations with farmers for O-grade and R-grade cows at 330c/kg and 350c/kg respectively. Click here for a detailed breakdown of prices