Weekly beef kill increases slightly

Official figures have shown that some 39,981 cattle were processed in Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine approved beef plants last week.

This is an increase of 937 head on the previous week; however this increase can be contributed to the number of calves processed last week, which amounted to 3,177 head.

The cumulative kill for 2020 is now up to 286,312 head, which is back on the 290,617 head of cattle which had been killed at this stage in 2019.


Looking at the figures in more detail, the number of steers slaughtered during the week last week was 13,385 head; while the number of heifers slaughtered was actually down slightly to 11,458 head.

These two combined accounted for just over 67% of the overall kill.

There were a total of 7,019 cows processed last week. This accounted for the third-largest segment of the kill, with young bulls being the next largest after that with 4,252 head.

Aged bulls made up the smallest proportion of the weekly kill at just 690 head, accounting for less than 2% of the total kill last week.

Week-on-week beef kill changes (week ending February 23):
  • Young bulls: 4,252 head (-318 head or -10.5%);
  • Bulls: 690 head (+130 head or +23.2%);
  • Steers: 13,385 head (+595 head or +4.6%);
  • Cows: 7,019 head (+17 head or +0.2%);
  • Heifers: 11,458 head (-243 head or +2%);
  • Total: 36,804 head (+181 head or +0.5%).

Year-on-year supplies

Taking into account last week’s kill, there has been just over 286,300 cattle killed so far this year.

By the corresponding week in 2019, there had been 290,617 animals slaughtered – a drop of 4,305 head in 2020.

With that said, increases have occurred in the number of aged bulls, heifers and steers killed this year, and especially in the case of steers – where a significant increase has been seen at 7,106 head.

However, young bulls and cows have seen a decline of 10,224 head and 6,617 head respectively.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:
  • Young bulls: 38,458 head ( -10,224 head or -21%);
  • Bulls: 4,115 head (+625 head or +17.9%);
  • Steers: 95,363 head (+7,106 head or +8%);
  • Cows: 51,683 head (-6,617 head or -11.3%);
  • Heifers: 90,123 head (+1,985 head or +2.2%);
  • Total: 279,742 head (-7,125 head or -2.5%).