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Significant Increase In Bull Kill

09 July 2010

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The latest slaughter statistics for NI show that the supply of cattle to NI plants was much greater during the first half of 2010, compared to the first half of 2009.

In the period from January - June 2010, the total prime cattle kill was nine per cent greater than in the same period in 2009, and although there was a slight decline in the cow kill, this was more than compensated for by a greater mature bull kill. In the first half of the year, the overall sheep kill was 25 per cent lower than during the first half of 2009.

Over the first half of the year, there has been a slight increase in the numbers of steers and heifers slaughtered in NI. This may be in part due to increased store imports over the last nine months. However, the main reason for the increased cattle kill so far in 2010 has been the increased supply of young bulls. Over 39,000 head have been slaughtered in NI since the start of the year, compared to about 25,200 in the same period last year - an increase of 55 per cent. The bulk of this increase has emanated from the dairy herd with more male dairy calves registered and fewer exported to the continent post-2007.

The other notable change is the increase in the recorded number of mature bulls in the slaughter mix. It is highly unlikely that this has been driven by culling of breeding bulls. Rather, there has been an increase in the recorded number of finished bulls that have been retained beyond 24 months (the official EU specification for young bulls is under 24 months). Considering that several of the major GB retailers specify an age-limit on young bulls of 16 months and others specify only steers / heifers (Bulletin Issue 2097), these developments are a concern as older bulls are outside premium market specifications.

The reduced cow kill in NI over the last six months, is also worth noting. Throughput of cows is down three per cent in the first six months of 2010, compared to 2009. LMC price reporting data would suggest that this decline has been driven mainly by reduced dairy cow slaughterings, while beef cow throughput may be at a similar or higher level than last year.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

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