Week-on-week cattle throughput up by 5% – Beef kill still below 30,000 head

The number of cattle slaughtered at Department of Agriculture approved beef plants increased slightly last week.

Figures from the Department’s beef kill data show that the number of cattle killed during the week ending March 24 jumped by 5% compared to the week before.

This brings the cattle kill for the week ending March 24 to 29,785 head, which means that the beef kill has been below between 30,000 head for the last two weeks.

Previously, Bord Bia predicted that the number of beef cattle would tighten in the first half of the year, before an 50,000-80,000 beef cattle come on stream in the second half of this year.

The Department’s beef kill data shows that the cattle kill has reduced over five of the last six weeks, with last week’s increase of 1,303 head being the first rise in five weeks.

Prime cattle throughput also increased last week, with the combined throughput of steers, young bulls and heifers increasing by 2.6% (+602 head).

On an individual basis, steer throughput increased 9%, the heifer kill is up by almost 2%, but the weekly throughput of young bulls declined by 13% or 526 head.

There was also a marked increase in the cull kill last week, with aged bull throughput up by 28% (+137 head) and the cow kill also jumped by 9% (+982 head) on the week before.

Week-on-week beef kill change:
  • Young bull: -13% (-526 head)
  • Bull: +28% (+137 head)
  • Steer: +9% (+982 head)
  • Cow: +11.5% (569 head)
  • Heifer: +1.7% (+146 head)
  • Total: +4.6% (1,303 head)

Cumulative Cattle kill

Figures from the Department of Agriculture also shows that the cumulative cattle kill is running 4.4% higher than last year.

Young bulls posted the biggest increase in throughput, with an additional 15,145 head slaughtered this year to the week ending March 24.

The increase in young bull throughput occurred as many producers seen this as an attractive enterprise in 2015, due to the relatively good price, Bord Bia suggests.

The number of steers and heifers slaughter this year have also increased on 2015 levels.

According to the Department figures, with steers up by 4,909 head and the supply of heifers increased by 1,471 head.

However, the cull kill is currently running behind 2015 levels. Aged bull throughput is back by 1,304 head (-17%) and the cow kill has dropped by 4,306 head (-5.9%).