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LMC Report: October Cattle Slaughterings Fall

11 November 2010

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The slaughter figures for October have now been compiled and as with September’s figures, they show a slight decline in the overall cattle kill and a collapse in sheep slaughterings compared to last October, according to the Livestock and Meat Commission.

As usual in October there has been a bigger kill than in previous months with plenty of cattle being finished off grass. With fewer cattle on the ground, kill numbers were probably slightly greater than anticipated. However, higher feed costs have encouraged producers to finish cattle now rather than incur the cost of housing meaning that the extra availability this month may be at the expense of availability later in the winter.

The overall cattle kill in October was one per cent (only 330 head) lower than last year. Within that overall figure, the cow and heifer kill is down by 1,560 head while the male kill is about 1,230 higher than last October, if calves are included.

The reduction in the female kill may prompt some to comment that there may be an increase in retentions for the breeding herd and this is possible. However, it is also important to note that in the autumn of 2009 there were exceptionally high numbers of dairy cows slaughtered due to the poor market for milk last year. The 11 per cent decline in cow slaughterings this October must be viewed in this context.

For the last 52 weeks, cattle slaughterings are well ahead of the previous year due to large increases in bull throughput and a steady steer and heifer kill. The bull kill has been buoyant over the last year due to the increased numbers raised for domestic slaughter, with fewer having being exported as calves in previous years. With the average age of bulls at slaughter also falling over the last year, the kill figures also received a temporary boost during 2010. Slaughterings of NI born steers were actually lower in 2010 compared to last year, but an increased kill of ROI origin prime cattle meant that the overall number of steers in the slaughter mix held up well during 2010.

However, the latest import figures show that this live trade is currently slower than last year and this will impact upon availability in the new year along with the general reduction in the availability of NI origin cattle on the ground.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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