Last week the national beef kill was back 41,860 head compared to the same time last year, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

Comparing last week’s beef kill with the corresponding week last year the throughput of cattle to Irish meat factories was back 2,774.

For the week commencing August 17, 2015 some 29,660 cattle went to factories.

Young bull throughput was down 298 on last year with 1,744 going to slaughter last week. The number of bulls going to the factory last week was also down on last year by 99 head.

Steer throughput last week was back 1,082 head on the corresponding week last year while the number of heifers going to factories also remains down on last year with 1,083 head less going to slaughter last week compared to the same week last year.

Overall steer throughput this year however, is up on last year by 36,809 head and heifer throughput is almost on a par with last year with 2,010 head less going to the factory year-on-year.

Drop in beef prices

As a result of difficult export markers and more cattle becoming available for slaughter, beef prices have fallen this week.

This has resulted in the base quotes for heifers and steers dropping by 5c/kg.

The price paid for beef has fallen 7% since the last week in July with the base heifer and steer price down by 30c/kg since July 22.

Plants are offering a base price of 400c/kg for steers while the majority of plants are purchasing heifers at 410c/kg.