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Increased Slaughterings In Driven By Greater Bull Kill

24 September 2010

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - In August 2010, cattle throughput at the Northern Irish (NI) meat plants was eight per cent higher than during August 2009. However, were it not for a significant increase in bull slaughterings, overall throughput of cattle would have been lower this August.

Table 1 shows that this August, the number of young bulls presented for slaughter in the NI meat plants was more than double the equivalent figure for August 2009. This represents an acceleration in the longer term trend for young bull slaughterings. Over the last twelve months, young bull slaughterings have been 57 per cent higher than the previous 12 month period.

This increase has been driven mainly by an increase in the number of dairy bull calves being retained for domestic production and slaughter in NI in recent years. Table 2 (page 2) shows that the number of dairy-sired male cattle on the ground has increased by 11,000 head (33 per cent) between August 2009 and August 2010 and this has clearly led to more bull slaughterings.

The number of mature bulls (over 24mths) in the slaughter mix has also increased substantially over the last year with a trebling in the mature bull kill compared to the previous 12 month period. This August, the mature bull kill was double that of last August. This has been driven by an increase in both the number of beef and dairy-sired bulls being presented for slaughter.

These increases in the bull supply mask a decline in steer, heifer and cull cow slaughterings in August 2010.Steer slaughterings were six per cent lower this August compared to last August and over the last 12 months numbers are down by two per cent on the previous 12-month period. This marks a sharp decline compared to last year and reflects the decline in beef cattle on the ground. Table 2 shows that the number of beef-sired cattle aged between 12-30 months is 11 per cent lower this August compared to last August and this is beginning to have an impact in factory throughputs.

It is likely that this will ultimately lead to a continued decline in steer and heifer throughput unless the factories can import more cattle for direct slaughter.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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