LMC: Sharp Decline In Slaughtering During October

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - The latest slaughter figures have confirmed that availability of cattle during October continued to be tight with total slaughterings down by four per cent compared to the same period last year.
calendar icon 10 November 2011
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Along with reports of robust demand, this tight supply helps to explain the strong beef trade this autumn.

Table 1 below shows how slaughterings of prime cattle were down by eight per cent in October. This was 2,600 head fewer than the same period last year. The reduction in prime cattle supplies was mainly driven by year-onyear reductions in slaughterings of steers and heifers.

Heifer slaughterings were down by 10 per cent in October. This will have been caused by a combination of reduced numbers of cattle on the ground and increased retention of heifers for breeding.

The young bull kill is also down by 20 per cent year-on-year. This decline has been driven by a combination of reduced beef and dairy sired bulls in the slaughter mix.

The reduction in beef-sired slaughterings possibly reflects a movement towards steer production which would have the impact of delaying finishing and having an impact on the kill. The steer kill is only down by three per cent year on year.

Were it not for an 18 per cent increase in the cow kill, the total kill would have been much lower during October.

Numbers were up by 1,500 head year-on-year with the increase being driven by a sharp increase in suckler cow slaughterings. This more than compensated for a sharp reduction in the dairy cow kill which has been lower due to strong farmgate milk prices.

Overall, the cattle kill for the entire year reflects the trend for October with the total kill down by four per cent since the start of the year. Sheep processors have been enjoying stronger supplies in October with slaughterings of lambs and hoggets up by just under 4,000 head (16 per cent) since last October.

However, this has been offset to a small degree by a 1,200 head decline in the ewe and ram kill.

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