Cow throughput in the North remains strong compared to Republic

Cow throughput at plants in Northern Ireland for the six week period ending February 20 stood at 11,289 head, the latest data from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) shows.

This figure is up from the 9,917 head slaughtered during the corresponding period in 2015, an increase of 14% year-on-year.

Throughput in the UK and the Republic of Ireland has not matched the North – both the UK and the Republic have seen declines in cow throughput.

According to the LMC, during January 2016 cow throughput in the UK totalled 47,218 head, an 11% decrease on January 2015 levels.

Cow throughput in the Republic during the six week period ending February 20 stood at 35,778 head, an which is says is an 8% decline from the 38,931 cows killed in plants in the Republic during the corresponding period in 2015.

Imports of cows for direct slaughter in plants in the North have remained fairly steady year-on-year, the LMC reports.

During the six weeks ending February 475 cows were imported from the Republic while 289 cows were imported from Britain which together accounted for 7% of total cow throughput in the North, it says.

In the same period in 2015 imports from south of the border totalled 390 head while 266 cows were imported from Britain which together also accounted for 7% of total cow throughput in the North’s plants.

Cow exports from Northern Ireland

Meanwhile, the LMC says exports of cows out of the North for direct slaughter have also continued at similar levels year-on-year.

During the six-week period ending February 20, 1,207 cows were exported to the Republic for direct slaughter while 180 cows were shipped to Britain.

It says this was broadly similar to year-earlier levels when 1,392 cows were exported to the Republic and 88 cows were exported to Britain for direct slaughter.

The increase in cow throughput in Northern plants has coincided with an increase in the average carcase weight of cows slaughtered, according to the LMC.

The average cow carcase weight in the North, during the six weeks ending February 20, was 309kg compared to 304kg during the corresponding period in 2015.

The average carcase weight of dairy origin price reported cows increased by 0.6kg to 277.9kg during the 2016 period, it says, while the average carcase weight of price reported suckler origin cows increased by 3.7kg to 348.3kg.

Meanwhile, there was no change to the proportion of dairy and suckler origin cows in the North’s slaughter mix year-on-year.

The LMC says dairy origin cows accounted for 64% of the North’s cow kill with suckler origin cows accounting for the remaining 36% during the six weeks ending February 20.

Plants in the North processed 3,488t of cow beef compared to 3,015t during the corresponding period in 2015, a 16% increase year-on-year.