Significant Increase in Cow and Heifer Categories in Beef Kill


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According to Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM)-approved slaughter facilities have reported a drop of nearly 25% in the total number of beef cows processed up to the week ending Saturday, September 11, compared to last year.

However, there is a noticeable bounce back in the number of cows processed after last week’s kill, as depicted in the figures below.

The data from Bord Bia reveals that the number of heifers processed as of the week ending Saturday, September 11, was also down by 6.6% compared to 2020 levels. Nevertheless, there has been a recovery in this category during this week.

Looking at the overall beef kill for the last week, which ended on Saturday, September 18, the figures show that over 35,000 head of cattle were processed, making it the highest weekly kill this year.

Weekly Beef Kill Changes (Last Week versus Previous Week)

  • Young bulls: 1,484 head (-147 head);
  • Bulls: 614 head (-2 head);
  • Steers: 17,610 head (+333 head);
  • Cows: 6,234 head (+700 head);
  • Heifers: 9,918 head (+750 head);
  • Total: 35,932 head [incl. veal] (+1,681 head).

The most significant increases were observed in the heifer, cow, and steer categories, respectively. The overall kill increased by 1,681 head compared to the previous week, reaching a total of 35,932 head of cattle.

The chart below displays the number of cattle processed in each category so far this year:

  • Young bulls: 93,981 head;
  • Bulls: 19,817 head;
  • Steers: 465,935 head;
  • Cows: 244,177 head;
  • Heifers: 333,790 head.

As depicted in the chart, steers, heifers, and cows comprise the largest proportion of the national kill this year.

Traditionally, the bull kill would have been much higher; however, in recent years, due to challenging conditions for bull finishers concerning input costs and pricing, many have shifted to finishing steers instead.

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