Beef kill: 2020 figures continue to race ahead of last year

Last week a total of 37,143 head of cattle were processed. This figure has suffered a decline of 520 head in comparison to the previous week, although it is still a significant number of animals processed as we are in a peak kill period.

Steer throughput amounted to 16,732 head and accounted for the highest segment of the kills. However, it represented a decrease of 881 head when compared to the previous week’s figure.

Cow throughput has suffered a decrease of 271 head in comparison to the previous week and amounted to 7,884 head. On the flip side, comparing this figure to the same week last year, cow throughput has experienced an increase of 804 head.

Week-on-week beef kill changes:

  • Steers: 16,732 head (-881 head);
  • Heifers: 10,499 head (+659 head);
  • Cows: 7,884 head (+271 head);
  • Young bulls: 1,568 head (+81 head);
  • Bulls: 460 head (-108 head);
  • Total: 37,143 head (-520 head).

The total number of cattle processed this year so far (up to the week ending October 25) has reached 1,441,024 head. This figure is currently racing ahead of the 2019 figure (1,409,031 head).

Steers have had the largest increase in throughput, with an additional 72,326 head of animals being processed. With 59,832 less young bulls slaughtered this year in comparison to last year, it is evident that the trend of declining bull-beef popularity is continuing.

Year-on-year beef kill changes:

  • Steers: 579,301 head (+72,326 head);
  • Heifers: 423,228 head (+10,656 head);
  • Cows: 295,049 head (-10,813 head);
  • Young bulls: 115,439 head (-59,832 head);
  • Bulls: 28,007 head (-1,970 head);
  • Total: 1,441,024 head (+31,993).

Beef trade In the Republic of Ireland

Processors continue to quote €3.60/kg for steers, while heifers are still being priced at €3.60-3.65/kg. Factories are stating they are predicting no cattle shortage for the coming weeks.

P-grade cows are being priced at €2.80-2.90/kg. O-grades are remaining around €3.00/kg, with R-grades settling for €3.10-3.15/kg. U-grading cows are back 10c/kg with some processors, as prices being quoted are closer to €3.20/kg, although prices of €3.30/kg are still being achieved.

Under 24-month-old bulls are still receiving €3.50/kg for R-grades and €3.60/kg for U-grades, provided they are in-spec. A price of €3.50-3.60/kg is continuing to be quoted for under 16-month-old bulls on the grid.

Northern Ireland beef trade

The Northern beef trade has seen similar prices quoted for prime cattle this week again. The Livestock & Meat Commission (LMC) has stated that prime U-3-grading animals are trading at £3.54-3.60/kg (€3.94-4.00/kg), provided they are in-spec.

Prime R-3-grading cattle are selling at £3.48-3.54/kg (€3.87-3.94/kg). These prices include bonuses where applicable.

Prices for O+3-grading cows and better were again quoted this week at £2.62-2.80/kg (€2.90-3.10/kg). It should be noted that these cow prices vary depending on weight and grade.