Little signs of cattle supplies easing as Christmas approaches

Cattle supplies have shown little signs of easing with the weekly kill continuing to remain above the 35,000 head mark.

During the week ending December 11, some 35,247 cattle were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture approved beef export plants, following on from the 35,453 head slaughtered the week earlier.

This brings the total supplied during the first two weeks of December to over 70,700 head – just over 10,000 more than factories generally require each fortnight.

However, official figures show that cattle supplies eased, but only slightly, last week when compared to the throughput from the week before, with the weekly kill falling by 206 head or 0.6%.

Looking at the beef kill in more detail, the weekly young bull kill increased by 8.9% or 385 head on the week before.

But aged bull, steer, cow and heifer throughput all posted falls on the week before with supplies back by 0.6% (3 head), 1.9% (241 head), 2.2% (186 head) and 2.1% (199 head) respectively.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: +385 head or +8.9%
  • Aged bulls: -3 head or -0.6%
  • Steers: -241 head or -1.9%
  • Cows: -186 head or -2.2%
  • Heifers: -199 head or -2.1%
  • Total: -206 head or -0.6%

Cumulative cattle supplies up 5.3%

Moving on to cumulative cattle supplies, figures from the Department show that an extra 77,763 cattle (5.3%) of cattle have been slaughtered so far this year compared to the same time in 2015.

Young bull and cow throughput increases make up the majority of this rise, with cumulative supplies up by 39,031 head (27.3%) and 34,690 head (11.3%) respectively.

Heifer throughput has also jumped, with the cumulative kill up by 3% or 11,861 head on the year before.

Meanwhile, official figures also show that aged bull and steer throughput has been lower so far this year.

Aged bull slaughterings have declined by 4,001 head year-on-year, while steer slaughterings have declined by 3,598 head or 0.6%.

Year-on-year cattle kill changes:
  • Young bulls: +39,031 head or +27.3%
  • Bulls: -4,001 head or -12.4%
  • Steers: -3,598 head or -0.6%
  • Cows: +34,690 head or +11.3%
  • Heifers: +11,861 head or +3%
  • Total: +77,762 head or +5.3%