Finished Cattle Disposals Decline by 70,000 Head

IRELAND - Total slaughterings in export beef plants up to week ending 15 October stood at 1,239,000 head, according to Joe Burke, Sector Manager – Beef & Livestock at Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
calendar icon 24 October 2011
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This represents a decline of almost 54,000 head, or 4.5 per cent, in comparison with the same period in 2010. Similarly, throughput at local authority abattoirs has been back by more than five per cent, or 2,500 head to-date.

In addition to lower slaughterings, exports of finished cattle to Northern Ireland have fallen by almost 14,000 head, or 30 per cent, on account of stronger producer prices in the Republic for most of this year.

Total disposals of finished cattle to-date in 2011 are collectively over 70,000 head, or five per cent, lower than last year, when each of these factors are taken into account.

This decline would have been more dramatic were it not for the recent seasonal increase in disposals, which over the past three weeks has seen an extra 7,700 cattle slaughtered and an extra 1,200 finished animals exported live.

The reduction in cattle supplies is primarily because of tighter supplies of steers (-12 per cent) and heifers (-7 per cent).

Young bull production has continued to rise, with a 20 per cent increase year to-date. Cow slaughterings have been similar to last year, while numbers in the category ‘other’ have grown by 22 per cent. This mainly refers to bulls aged over 24 months.

The most recent figures from the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Identification and Movements (AIM) database suggest that prime cattle supplies will continue to tighten over the coming months.

The numbers of calves/weanlings have increased as a result of higher calf births and lower exports this year. However, there was a dramatic decline in animals aged between 12 and 30 months.

Their numbers were collectively 182,000 head lower than at the same time last year. The decline is most apparent in male cattle, and particularly in animals of a beef breed.

This is an impact of the strong live exports of 2010, along with greater numbers of males being finished earlier as young bulls.

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