The weekly beef kill in Ireland has passed 30,000 head for the first time in nine weeks, recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database, 30,426 cattle were slaughtered in Ireland during the week ending June 19, 10% higher than the week before.

The majority of this rise is due to an increase in cow and heifer slaughterings which are up by 17.5% and 12% respectively compared to the week before.

There has also been a jump in the number of young bull and aged bull slaughterings, increasing by 27 head and 530 head respectively on the week ending June 12.

The number of steers slaughtered during the week ending June 19 was also higher than the week before, with throughput numbers increasing by 530 head or 6%.

The rise in last week’s beef kill may indicate that grass cattle are starting to come on stream, as grass cattle numbers have been slowly creeping up in factories over the past couple of weeks.

However, Bord Bia previously reported that grass cattle supplies were low during the month of May due to a delay in spring turnout.

Bord Bia also suggests that cull cow throughput is likely to be 1,000 head higher each week until the end of the year, mainly driven by an increase in dairy cow slaughterings.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bull: +27 head (+0.6%)
  • Bull: +18 head (+18%)
  • Steer: +530 head (+6%)
  • Cow: +1,283 head (+17.5%)
  • Heifer: +835 head (+12%)
  • Total: +2,760 head (+10%)

Cumulative cattle supplies

According to the Department, an extra 18,271 cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland so far this year, 31% higher than the same time in 2015.

The majority of this increase is due to a rise in the young bull kill, which is 31% or 25,701 head higher than 2015.

Official figures also show that there has been a small increase in the number of heifers and cows slaughtered this year compared to last year, up by 0.3% and 3% respectively.

However, aged bull and steer throughput have declined so far this year, with throughput figures down by 3,654 head and 9,055 head on the same time in 2015.