Northern Ireland's Cattle Slaughter Back Slightly on 2012

UK - Northern Ireland's prime cattle slaughter shrank slightly on the 2012 figure, experts at the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) for Northern Ireland have revealed.
calendar icon 15 January 2014
clock icon 2 minute read

Prime cattle slaughterings in NI during 2013 totalled 339,923 head, a one per cent reduction on the 341,769 head slaughtered in 2012, write LMC analysts.

The increase in throughput of prime cattle experienced by the processors during the second quarter of 2013 was counteracted by a reduction in throughput during autumn 2013 when compared to the previous year. This has resulted in total prime cattle throughput for 2013 to be almost unchanged from the previous year.

There were however key changes recorded in the makeup of the prime cattle kill. During 2012 144,088 steers were slaughtered in NI plants compared to 162,030 during 2012. This accounts for an 11 per cent decline in steer throughput year on year. In 2012 steers made up 47 per cent of the prime cattle kill and in 2013 this was reduced to 42 per cent.

The young bull kill during 2013 totalled 74,945 head, a 19 per cent increase in young bull throughput on the previous year. In 2013 young bulls accounted for 22 per cent of the prime cattle kill compared to 18 per cent in 2012.

Meanwhile the heifer kill in NI increased from 116,897 head in 2012 to 120,890 in 2013. This three per cent increase in heifer throughput perhaps reflects a reduction in the number of heifers being retained for breeding. Heifers accounted for 36 per cent of the prime kill in 2013 compared to 34 per cent in 2012.

While there have been changes in the makeup of the prime kill there have also been changes in the average carcase weight. In 2013 the average prime cattle carcase weight was 326.5kg, a 13.5kg reduction on the 340kg recorded in 2012. 

This accounts for four per cent reduction in average carcase weights and contributes to a 4.6 per cent reduction in the amount of beef produced from prime cattle.

The cow kill in NI during 2013 totalled 90,314 head, an eight per cent reduction on the 97,965 cows slaughtered in 2012. The cow throughput was particularly high in the final quarter of 2012 and into the first quarter of 2013 as producers culled unproductive stock due to the threat of forage shortages.

Cow throughput during the second half of 2013 was at similar levels to those recorded in the corresponding period in 2011. Average cow carcase weights were almost unchanged at 296.5kg during 2013 when compared to 2012 with cow beef production back 7.2 per cent year on year.

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