Beef supplies at Irish meat plants are already on the rise with over 12,000 extra cattle killed in January compared to the same month last year.

The 10% increase in the January kill comes as many beef market commentators are predicting a significant increase in Irish beef production this year.

Looking at the beef kill more closely, supplies of prime cattle so far this year are up (14%) while supplies of cows are back marginally.

January beef kill

  • Steers +7%
  • Heifers +5%
  • Young Bulls +45%
  • Cows -1%
  • Total +10%

According to Bord Bia, an increase of almost 28,000 head in live cattle exports in 2014 helped partly offset a rise of more than 100,000 head in calf registrations.

However, it says this increase points to a pick-up in finished cattle supplies as 2016 progresses.

Bord Bia cites figures from the Department of Agriculture’s AIM database for September 1, 2015, which show a decline of 37,000 head in the number of male cattle aged 18–24 months while numbers in the 12–18 months category were 36,000 head higher, relative to a year earlier.

Source: Bord Bia

Source: Bord Bia

Female numbers in the 18–24 months age bracket were 35,000 head lower while numbers of heifers aged 12–18 months were 30,000 head higher.

Bord Bia says taking these figures into account, supplies at export plants are expected to be tight in the first half of 2016 before recovering in the second half to leave supplies for 2016 up between 60,000 and 80,000 head.


In general, Bord Bia says steers were purchased at an average base price of between €3.90/kg and €3.95/kg on the Quality Payment System.

The base price payable for heifers was typically making between €4.00/kg and €4.05/kg with small quantities generating more.

These prices exclude the 12c/kg bonus payable on in-spec QA animals. Prices paid for O grade cull cows were mostly in the range between €3.10/kg and €3.25/kg.