Cattle slaughterings pass the 500,000 mark

Over 500,000 cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland so far this year, official data shows. Figures taken from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database show that some 502,665 cattle have been slaughtered up to the week ending April 15.

When compared to the corresponding period in 2017, that’s an increase of 15,663 head or 3.2%.

In terms of throughput, the combined steer and heifer kill accounted for more than 62% of all of the cattle slaughtered in Ireland between January 1 and April 15, 2018.

Over 168,840 steers and 145,227 heifers have been slaughtered in approved beef export plants this year; that’s a combined jump of almost 3,526 head or 1.1%.

In addition, there has been a marked increase in cow slaughterings; this is mainly due to the demand for manufacturing beef. Some 103,435 cows have been slaughtered this year – an increase of 4,358 head or 4.4% on the corresponding period in 2017.

Furthermore, there has been an increase in the number of aged bull and young bull slaughterings. Aged bull throughput has jumped by 1,401 head and young bull supplies are up by 4,172 head.

Year-on-year beef kill changes (week ending April 15):
  • Young bulls: 69,255 head (+4,172 head or +6.0%);
  • Bulls: 8,352 head (+1,401 head or +20%);
  • Steers: 168,846 head (-2,225 head or -1.3%);
  • Cows: 103,435 head (+4,358 head or +4.2%);
  • Heifers: 145,227 head (+5,751 head or +4.1%);
  • Total: 502,665 head (+15,663 head or +3.2%).

Weekly kill

Moving to the weekly kill, the latest data from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database shows that some 12,542 steers were slaughtered in approved export plants during the week ending April 15 – an increase of 850 head.

Heifer supplies also increased during the second week of April. Official figures show that 9,830 heifers were bought by beef factories – an increase of 1,195 head or 13.8% on the week before.

An increase was also witnessed in both the young bull and aged bull categories – up 82 head and 89 head respectively.

In total, some 34,696 head of cattle were sent for slaughter – an increase of 4,875 head or 15%. Much of this increase can be attributed to cow throughput. Week-on-week supplies of these animals grew by 2,412 head or 40% during the week ending April 15.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending April 15):
  • Young bulls: 3,275 head (+82 head or +2.5%);
  • Bulls: 705 head (+89 head or +14%);
  • Steers: 12,542 head (+850 head or +7.2%);
  • Cows: 8,344 head (+2,412 head or +40%);
  • Heifers: 9,830 head (+1,195 head or +13%);
  • Total: 34,696 head (+4,875 head or +15%).

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