Septem­ber beef kill high­est in 15 years

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - MAR­TIN RYAN

THE culling of cows to off­set the im­pact of the sum­mer drought has seen cat­tle in­takes at beef plants hit a 15-year high for the month of Septem­ber.

To­tal Septem­ber sup­plies to the fac­to­ries ex­ceeded 154,000 head - com­pared to 145,000 head in 2017. Last month’s fig­ure is the high­est monthly kill in Septem­ber since 2003, when 160,000 head were pro­cessed by the fac­to­ries.

Joe Burke, Bord Bia Beef and Live­stock man­ager, said that the year to-date cat­tle sup­plies are run­ning more than 48,000 ahead of 2017. The weekly kill has topped 39,000hd six weeks ear­lier than in 2017.

In­take at the 26 beef ex­port fac­to­ries for the last week of Septem­ber 2018 was 39,225 head, the high­est weekly in­take for Septem­ber in more than a decade.

“Peak sup­plies last year were recorded dur­ing the months of Novem­ber and De­cem­ber” said Mr Burke. “Based on the lat­est anal­y­sis for the na­tional herd and the trends al­ready recorded, we would ex­pect any fur­ther in­crease in sup­plies later in the year to be lim­ited”.

Since mid-June the off-load­ing of cows has added an ex­tra 16,000 head to the to­tal kill com­pared to 2017.

The steer sup­ply at 17,329 head was down from 19,222 last year, but the drop was more than com­pen­sated for by an in­crease in cows, heifers and young bulls. The sup­ply of cows at 8,376 was up from 6,753 last year. Heifer num­bers were up 1,200 and young bulls up by al­most 600.

Steers sup­ply

Mr Burke pre­dicts that the avail­abil­ity of steers is likely to con­tinue to be lower than last year. The data shows that there were 8,500 fewer male cat­tle in the 12-24 month age bracket on Au­gust 1 due to ris­ing live ex­ports and more beef farm­ers opt­ing to fin­ish male an­i­mals ear­lier as young bulls.

“How­ever, look­ing on the fe­male side, the trend of strong sup­plies of both heifers and cull cows could be main­tained some­what longer.

“There were 25,000 ad­di­tional beef-bred fe­males aged be­tween 12 and 24 months, although some of this in­crease is al­ready likely to have worked its way through the sys­tem.”

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