High beef kill despite bank holiday Monday

The beef kill in Ireland has been running well above average in recent times. Despite last week’s bank holiday Monday, some 31,772 head of cattle were slaughtered in beef processing plants.

However, looking at the kill in more detail, last week the total number of cattle slaughtered dropped by 3,041 head compared to the previous week.

Steer supplies amounted to 9,305 head – a fall of 820 head on the previous week. The number of young bulls processed fell by 158 head, while the aged bull category recorded an minimal increase in throughput; some 958 aged bulls were slaughtered – a jump of three head.

Moving to the cow kill, cow throughput decreased to reach 7,584 head – a drop of 1,798 head on the previous week’s kill.

There was also a fall in the number of heifers processed. A total of 9,140 heifers were slaughtered that week – down 258 head on the week before.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending June 9):
  • Young bulls: 4,785 head (-158 head or -3%);
  • Bulls: 958 head (+3 head or +0.3%);
  • Steers: 9,305 head (-820 head or -8%);
  • Cows: 7,584 head (-1,798 head or -19%);
  • Heifers: 9,140 head (-258 head or -2%);
  • Total: 31,808 head (-3,041 head or -9%).

The number of cattle slaughtered in Ireland this year is approaching the 800,000 head mark, official figures show.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture’s beef kill database show that some 799,524 cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland this year – an increase of 43,117 head on 2017 levels.

What are the factories offering?

Farmers with bulls fit for slaughter have come under pressure in beef processing plants, with some finishers finding it somewhat difficult to market their animals.

This high throughput gives factories the upper hand and agents are now offering 385c/kg for steers and 395c/kg for factory-fit heifers, with an extra 5c/kg becoming more difficult; both of these prices exclude Quality Assurance Scheme bonuses.