Throughput in slaughter plants was up again last week on the same period last year. Supplies of steers, heifers, and cows were well ahead of 2013 figures. However the young bull kill remains worryingly low.

According to Department of Agriculture figures, the steer kill was up a massive 25 per cent last week on the same week last year. In total 9,903 steers were processed in plants last week this compares to 7,953 in the same period last year. When combined with the throughput figures for the first week of the year, the steer kill is at this stage up some 31 per cent on 2013.

The heifer kill has also been high in the open weeks of the year. The heifer throughput was up even higher than the steer kill, some 26 per cent higher than the same week last year. Some 9,945 heifers were killed last week compared to 7,522 over the same period in 2013. Similarly to the steer kill, last week’s heifer kill comes on the back of a big increase the previous week, which means heifer kill is therefore up some 19 per cent so far on 2013.

There was also a large throughput of cull cows in factories last week. Some 6,351 cows were slaughtered, a 24 per cent increase on the same week last year.

In stark contrast to supplies of steers heifers and cows, the young bull kill continues to show significant declines from normal levels. The young bull kill was down 31 per cent last week on the same week last year. This result really reflects the problems farmers are having in off-loading bulls at the moment.

The second week of January last year saw a young bull kill of 6,170, contrast that to the same week this year, which had a kill of 4,233 a fall of some 1,937 head.

Despite the young bull kill being well behind last year, the total beef kill is up significantly. With 30,477 head of cattle killed last week supplies were up 12 per cent on the same week last year.