Young bull slaughterings on the rise in Northern Ireland

There has been a significant increase in the number of young bull slaughterings in Northern Irish this year, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC).

During the six week period ending October 1, a total of 3,797 young bulls were slaughtered in factories, which accounted for 11% of the total prime cattle kill.

In the corresponding period in 2015 the young bull kill totalled 2,846 head and accounted 8% of the total prime kill.

In the 2016 period 90% of the price reported young bulls were slaughtered at under 16 months of age, similar to the corresponding period in 2015.

By comparison just 63% of price reported young bulls were slaughtered at under 16 months of age during the corresponding period in 2013, prior to the increased penalties being applied.

Dairy sired young bulls accounted for 35% of the price reported young bulls killed in local plants during the six week period ending October 1, an increase from 32% of the kill during the corresponding period in 2015.

This increase in throughput of dairy sired young bulls can be attributed to lower dairy bull calf exports during 2014/2015 when a strong Sterling made calves of Northern Ireland origin expensive for exporters.

A further 13% of price reported young bulls were beef sired from dairy cows during the six week period ending October 1, a slight increase from 12% in the corresponding period in 2015.

Overall 48% of young bulls killed in local plants were sourced from the dairy herd during the six week period ending October 1, an increase from 44% during the 2015 period.

This increase in the dairy influence will have been one factor behind the drop in the average carcass weight of young bulls killed in local plants from 344kg in the six weeks ending October 3 to 330kg in the corresponding period in 2016.

The average carcass weight of price reported dairy origin young bulls during the 2016 period was 287kg while the average carcass weight of suckler origin young bulls was 368kg.

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