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Irish Beef Production Falls Nine Per Cent

15 June 2009

IRELAND - Recently released figures from the CSO indicate that Irish beef production eased by almost nine per cent during the first four months of 2009 due to a combination of lower cattle supplies and some fall in carcase weights.

Most of the drop was evident in January, when output was almost 20 per cent lower, says a BordBia report.

Up to week ending the 6 June, cattle supplies at export meat plants was six per cent lower than last year at 619,000 head. With a marginal fall evident in carcase weights, it leaves production to date down by just under seven per cent at around 200,000 tonnes. Prime beef output has shown the largest decline at almost nine per cent, reflecting a sharp decline in steer and heifer supplies.

Steer beef production at export meat plants is running 14 per cent lower to date at 84,000 tonnes, reflecting a smaller carry over of stock from 2008, reduced availability due to strong live exports in 2007, increased exports of finished cattle to Northern Ireland and slower disposal patterns. Some pick up in steer supplies is expected over the second half of 2009, although much will depend on the level of live exports of finished cattle to Northern Ireland.

Monthly Prime Beef Production at Export

Heifer beef production at export meat plants is 6 per cent lower to date at 52,000 tonnes. All of the decline is due to lower supplies as average carcase weights are unchanged at 290kg.

Young bull beef production at export meat plants is around four per cent higher to date, reflecting a good lift in supplies over the last few months as lower feed costs help to drive supplies.

Following relatively low disposals in 2008, cow beef production at export meat plants has recovered by three per cent to date at 37,000 tonnes. This increase is based on a rise of almost four per cent in supplies. This trend is expected to continue over the coming months.

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