The final figures for the number of cattle slaughtered at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) approved factories in 2022 have been revealed.

According to DAFM figures, a total of 1.82 million cattle (including veal) were processed at DAFM-approved factories in 2022. This figure does not include the cattle slaughtered at Local Authority-approved sites.

The number of cattle slaughtered at DAFM-approved factories in 2022 is understood to be the highest since 1999 – 24 years ago.

This figure marks an overall increase of 133,364 head of cattle (including veal) on the 1.69 million cattle slaughtered at DAFM-approved factories in 2021.

413,410 cows were slaughtered at DAFM-approved factories in 2022, an increase of 59,294 cows on the 354,116 cows processed in 2021.

The table below shows a breakdown of the cattle supply in 2022 and 2021 by type:

Cattle type20222021Difference
Young Bulls:133,460129,844+3,616
Veal – (V):28,38821,007+7,381
Veal – (Z):1,7821,694+88
Source: DAFM

In the veal sections, Category V represents all cattle slaughtered under eight months of age. Category Z represents all cattle slaughtered from eight to 12 months of age.

The level of calves slaughtered in the V category increased in 2022. These are primarily bull calves from the dairy herd and this is something that the Irish dairy sector is working to reduce.

The vast majority of calves in the V category are slaughtered between the start of February and the second week of April.

As the table above indicates, the largest increase in supply came from the cow category which grew by over 59,000 head. A strong cow price all year and high input costs likely attributed to this growth in factory cow supply.

Cow supply was strong all year but peaked in November and December.

The second-largest growth in numbers came from the steer category in which supply grew by over 38,500 head. The drop in calf exports in 2020 and 2021 likely attributed to this.

The bullock (steer) supply peaked in late August, September and early October.

The third-largest growth in supply came from the heifer category which increased by just over 23,000 head. Heifer supply peaked in early February and October.

Stay tuned to Agriland for further updates on the beef kill and factory cattle supply.