Cattle supplies continue to ease – Falling below 30,000 head for the second week

Beef cattle supplies are continuing to tighten with just 28,751 head slaughtered last week, recent figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

During the week ending May 1, the number of cattle killed at Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants was back 4.5% compared to the week earlier.

But, it must be remembered that this was only a four day week.

This means that the beef kill has been below 30,000 head for the past two weeks, with throughput back by 4% two weeks ago.

The price cattle kill (steers, heifers and young bulls) also posted a reduction, down by 4.3% (954 head) compared to the week ending April 25.

Figures from the Department shows that young bull throughput declined by 1.5% (53 head), the steer kill fell by 4.4% (453 head) and the heifer kill was back 4.5% (448 head).

However, despite the fall in the prime cattle kill, the number of aged bull and cull cow slaughterings have increased by 19% and 3.8% respectively.

According to Bord Bia, cattle numbers are likely to tighten over the next couple of months, before grass cattle come on stream in the second half of 2016.

It also expects the number of cattle coming forward for slaughter to jump by 60,000-80,000 in the second half of the year.

Weekly beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: -53 head (-1.5%)
  • Bulls: +114 head (+19%)
  • Steers: -453 head (-4.4%)
  • Cows: +238 head (-4.4%)
  • Heifers: -448 head (-4.5%)
  • Total: -527 head (-4.5%)

Cumulative cattle kill

According to Department figures there has been an additional 15,762 cattle slaughtered in Ireland so far this year.

Young bull throughput posted the highest rise, jumping by 32% or 19,290 head during the first four months of the year compared with the same time last year.

Official figures from the Department show that the aged bull throughput has declined by 20%, while the steer and cow kill dropped by 1,537 head and 1,148 head respectively.

But, heifer throughput remains slightly a head of 2015 levels, up by 1,156 head or 1% during the first four months of 2016.