February 2020 sees 20% rise in sheep slaughterings on 2019 figure

The number of sheep slaughtered in the month of February 2020 increased by almost 20% compared to the same month of 2019, according to the latest livestock slaughterings data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

Sheep was the only livestock figure to see an increase, with cattle slaughterings remaining virtually unchanged and pig slaughterings falling by 3.2% last month compared to February 2019.

207,000 head of sheep were slaughtered last month, up from 172,600 in February 2019 (a change of 19.9%). 164,700 head of cattle were slaughtered in February, essentially the same as the same month last year, while 269,900 head of pigs were slaughtered last month, a decrease on the 278,900 figure for February 2019.

If January and February are taken together as one period, then sheep remains the only livestock to see an increase in slaughterings – a 6.5% increase on the same two-month period for 2019.

Cattle slaughterings fell by 1.6% in the last two months combined, compared to January and February of 2019, while the two-month comparison for pigs decreased by 4.7%.

Carcass weight

Although the slaughtering figure for cattle was virtually unchanged in February 2020 compared to the same month of 2019, carcass weight did increase to 57.4t compared to 52.4t.

Sheep carcass weight also increased last month, standing at 4.6t compared to the 3.8t in February 2019.

Pig carcass weight decreased slightly, from 24.8t in February 2019 to 24.2t in February 2020.


Comparing the figures for February 2020 against January 2020, we see that the number of cattle slaughtered fell slightly over the two months, from 165,100 head in January.

Sheep slaughterings in the same period fell from 253,900 head in January, while pig slaughterings fell from 309,400.

In terms of carcass weight, the cattle figure fell from 59t across January 2020 to February 2020; the sheep figure decreased from 5.6t; and the pig figure fell from 28.2t.