Between 20,000 and 40,000 less cattle will be slaughtered in 2019, according to Bord Bia’s Latest forecast on the meat sector.
Speaking at the Bord Bia Meat Marketing Seminar, Meat Specialist Joe Burke told delegates that 51,000 additional cattle were slaughtered last year largely due to the difficult weather conditions farmers faced.
He said that this level of throughput is unlikely to happen this year if weather and conditions are stable.
“In terms of throughout, for 52 weeks in 2018 there was a 3pc increase in throughput or 51,000 additional cattle. There was a 4pc increase in young bulls and 5pc more heifers and 6pc more cows, many of those were from a dairy background during the difficult summer period and had slightly lighter carcass weights,” he said.
“In 2019, we expect to see a slight decline in cattle throughput. This is based on recent analysis on the amount of current cattle that are already in the national herd base. We expect to see a slight decline of 20,000-40,000 hd in this year’s slaughter levels and that will depend on the number of cull cows that come out during the year and grazing conditions and so on.”
He explained that an increase in live exports will lead to a scarcity in cattle for throughout as the year progresses.
Exports last year to Spain were up 80pc, however there was a decline of 58pc to Turkey due to political issues there.
He pointed out that the suckler cows that went for slaughter saw no decline in weight but that were was a 50,000 decrease in the suckler herd last year which was matched by a 50,000 increase in the dairy herd.
In 2019 there will be a net decline of 1.7pc in beef production in the EU. He said Irish R3 steers failed to match the UK equivalent of €4.03/kg in December but did exceed it for some parts of the year.