Irish cattle kill back on track

Thursday, 1 October 2020

A total of 1.32 million cattle have been processed in Ireland up to the week commencing 21 September, according to Irish government figures. This is 4% (51,000 head) more than last year.

Some of the uplift will be due to steep fluctuations in weekly slaughter last year between August-September; not necessarily that more cattle are being processed in 2020. Up until the end of July this year, cattle kill was around 2% below that of 2019.

Both prime cattle and cow slaughter are up 3% so far this year compared to 2019, again likely attributed to last year’s fluctuations. The June population survey suggests that numbers of cattle available to kill will be lower for the rest of 2020.

Live cattle exports continue to run below those seen last year, being down 13% overall up until the week ending 19 September. This is predominantly due to fewer calves being shipped into other EU markets, in particular to the Netherlands. Exports of fresh and frozen beef for January-July are down 8% from last year’s levels, at 210,300 tonnes.

Average Irish R3 steer prices are currently running about 20 eurocents above where they were last year, with R3 steers averaging €3.63/kg in the week ending 20 September. However, the average prices were tracking around 7 eurocents per kilo lower than the EU average in the latest week, and over 43 eurocents below the equivalent UK price.

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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