March cattle slaughterings increase, while sheep kill dips

The number of cattle slaughtered in March 2019 showed a slight increase compared to the same month the previous year – but sheep slaughterings decreased by over a fifth in the same time frame.

Figures released today, Thursday, April 25, by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that cattle slaughterings increased by 2.9% from March 2018 to March 2019, while the data for sheep shows a 22.1% drop over the 12 months.

Meanwhile, pig slaughterings also decreased, though by a less drastic 2.5%.

Cattle slaughterings. Image source: CSO

When the first three months of this year are compared to the first three months of 2018, the numbers show that: cattle slaughterings were up 4.6%; sheep were down 13.9%; and pigs showed a decrease of 2.1%.

Raw numbers

Looking at the raw numbers, the March 2019 figure for cattle was 157,200 head, compared to 152,800 12 months prior.

For sheep, the March 2018 figure was 233,700 head; this fell to 182,200 last month.

In March 2018, pig slaughterings stood at 281,100 head; in March 2019, this number was 274,000.


The number for sheep was up slightly from February 2019, when the figure was 174,400 – a revised value, according to the CSO – while the January figure was 260,400.

The cattle figures show that there was a slight decrease from February, when the figure was 157,600 head, which itself was a larger decrease from January’s 170,500.

In pigs, a similar trend of a small decrease following on from a larger fall could be seen; the numbers went from 328,700 in January, to 279,400 in February, to 274,000 in March.