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Beef kill: Finished cattle supplies starting to tighten – Agriland.ie

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The latest beef kill figures show that the total beef kill in the week ending Sunday, May 19, totalled just over 31,200 head or just under 700 head of cattle below the same week of last year.

The past two consecutive weeks have bucked this years’ trend of higher weekly kills than the equivalent weeks of last year, indicating that supplies of finished cattle are beginning to tighten.

Earlier this year, the Bord Bia forecast on factory cattle supplies for 2024 indicated that the strong cow kill was expected to be maintained, but an overall decline of somewhere between 30-40,000 head of cattle was projected for this year.

The graph below gives an overview of the beef kill at Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) approved factories in the past 12 weeks of this year versus the same 12 weeks of last year:

The weekly beef kill figures can also be found on Agriland by clicking here.

As the graph above indicates, weekly kills have dropped below the same week of last year for the past two consecutive weeks.

The large drop off in the week commencing Monday, May 6, is partly due to the May bank holiday and resulting four-day kill at most factories, however, kill numbers failed to bounce back to April levels in the following week.

The table below gives an overview of the beef kill at DAFM-approved factories for the week ending Sunday, May 19, versus the same week of last year and the total kill to date this year versus the same time period of last year:

Animal Week ending
Sunday, May 19
Same week
last year
Cumulative
2024
Cumulative
2023
Young Bulls 2,456 2,841 47,619 50,398
Bulls 669 696 9,950 10,242
Steers 12,192 12,273 244,791 239,649
Cows 6,956 7,192 167,848 148,881
Heifers 8,959 8,920 202,347 192,934
Total 31,232 31,922 672,555 642,104
Source: DAFM

As the table above indicates, the total beef kill to date this year is just over 30,400 ahead of the same time period of last year.

The main driver of the growth in kill numbers this year has been seen in the cow category with supplies up by almost 19,000 head this year.

While supplies have been forecast to drop off this year, it will be interesting to see if this trend will materialise, and what impact – if any – this will have on the prices paid for finished cattle.

Figures from the DAFM show that 114,712 dairy cull cows were slaughtered in the first four months of 2024.

Some 113,503 cows were slaughtered in DAFM approved plants, while the remaining 1,209 were processed in local authority approved facilities.

Over 30,000 dairy cull cows were slaughtered in February.

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