Cattle Throughput Unchanged In March

NORTHERN IRELAND - The latest slaughter figures from the Department of A griculture and Rural Development show that in the five weeks to 02 April 2011, prime cattle throughput at the NI red meat slaughter plants was down by two per cent compared to the same period in 2010, while the overall cattle kill was unchanged.
calendar icon 19 April 2011
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The figures show that the prime cattle kill (including calves) was around 600 head lower than the same period last year, due to declines in the young bull and heifer kill. However, an increase in the cow and mature bull kill (year-on-year) meant that the overall kill this March was only around 200 head lower than last March.

An increased bull kill was a feature of the trade throughout 2010 and this meant that slaughterings for the year to date were two per cent higher than last year, despite a decline in the steer, heifer and cow kill. The young bull kill increased by 27 per cent (16,920 head) over the last 52 weeks, while the mature bull kill increased by 67 per cent (5,200 head).

The sheep kill remains much lower than previous year levels. This March only 15,200 sheep were slaughtered at the NI meat plants, compared to 23,500 last March. This reduction of 35 per cent in lamb and hogget slaughterings reflects the increased level of sheep exports to red meat plants in ROI as well as the general decline in local lamb production. The strong prices currently available for hoggets reflects this reduced availability as well as the reduced numbers in ROI.

There has been an even greater decline in ewe / ram slaughterings with throughput about half the previous year’s figure. This decline probably reflects an increase in exports of these mature sheep to ROI for slaughter, although it may also be a sign of reduced culling of the breeding ewe flock.

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