Strong beef kill continues

Over 32,280 cattle were slaughtered last week in Irish beef exporting plants – an increase of 1,232 head when compared to the previous week and a jump of over 500 head when compared to the equivalent week in 2019.

Earlier in the week, agents located around the country have noted an increase in the number of cattle available for slaughter and this has added slight downward price pressure to the trade for prime cattle, with some plants attempting to purchase cattle at 355-360c/kg.

While the kill increased, the number of cows remained constant, with 8,201 cows processed last week – a mere one cow more than the previous week.

The increase was driven mostly by steers and heifers; 11,029 bullocks were slaughtered – up 680 head, while heifer numbers increased by 552 head.

In the case of bulls, young bull slaughterings increased to 2,868 head, representing an 89-head increase on the previous week’s kill. However, the number of aged bulls decreased to 469 head – down from 557 head.

Over 730,000 cattle have been slaughtered in Ireland this year – a decrease of 54,974 head when compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

Throughput increases have been witnessed in the steer category. However, heifer, young bull, aged bull and cow throughput have declined.

In terms of prices, the majority of beef factories continue to quote 360c/kg for both steers and heifers; however, there are some farmers securing prices at 365c/kg – especially for in-spec heifers and bullocks where larger numbers are available.

But, as mentioned above, 355c/kg has been quoted in other plants.

Northern Irish prices

According to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), prime cattle base quotes continue their upward movement this week.

U3-grading steers and heifers are making the equivalent of 388-395c/kg, while R3 prime cattle range from 381c/kg to 388c/kg. Additionally, O3 heifer and bullock base quotes stand at 374-381c/kg, according to the LMC.

In the case of cows, O3-grading animal base quotes remain static at 291-308c/kg.