Farm Ireland

Thursday 19 July 2018

Bull production plunges 70pc

Young bull beef production has been slashed
Young bull beef production has been slashed

Martin Ryan

Production of young bull beef has been slashed by up to 70pc by specialist producers who were badly burned financially in 2014 by the slump in demand.

Beef finishers have reduced production of young bulls by an average of 6,000hd per month over the first seven months of this year, according to the slaughter figures from the export plants up to the end of July.

Latest statistics show that the weekly kill at the country's 25 beef factories has dropped to 2,159hd.

This is a fall of almost 70pc over 16 months. Throughput at the factories peaked in spring 2014 at 6,700 hd/wk.

In 2014 producers experienced serious difficulties in sourcing an outlet for young bulls, because of the over supply and prices plummeted, resulting in many finishers switching to steers.

Young bull supplies to the factories to the end of July are down by 42,300hd compared to the early 2014, with 102,656hd supplied so far this year.

Prices for young bull beef have also strengthened compared to 2014.

Last year, the processors paid an average of 96pc of the steer price for U grade and R grade bulls, and 93pc for O grade.

Also Read

The current young bull price is 99pc of the steer price for U/R grades and 98pc for O grade.

Producing young bull beef at 16-20 months is the most efficient, according to Teagasc studies.

Researchers have found bulls have a higher feed conversion rate compared with steer beef. Increases in bull beef production in recent years had been driven by the ability to produce higher outputs of beef per hectare.

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