Cow kill to jump by over 10,000hd
An extra 10,000-20,000 cows, mainly from the dairy herd, will be slaughtered at meat plants this year, Bord Bia has predicted.
Cull cow throughput at meat factories is set to increase from 337,000hd in 2011 to around 350,000hd or more this year, according to Bord Bia's beef analyst Joe Burke.
While the number of cows slaughtered in the year to date is running 1,500hd behind last year's figures, there was a 1,200hd increase in the number of cows slaughtered last week, compared to the same week last year.
Higher heifer numbers in dairy herds, the prospect of another superlevy fine for 2012/2013 and high cull cow prices are the driving forces behind the predicted increase in cull cow numbers.
At Delvin Mart on Thursday, Friesian cull cows sold for €270-500 with their weight, while heavier Continental cows sold for €700-800 over. Mart manager John Gilligan said dairy cows that would have made €100-150 under the weight last year were now making up to €300 over the weight.
Ennis Mart had more than 200 cows for sale last week, with top prices of €1.95-2.25/kg for top Continental cows and €2-2.40/kg for lighter feeding-type cows.
"Cull cow prices are as high as they have ever been in the past," said mart manager Martin McNamara.
"The prices paid for good Continental cull cows in a lot of cases is nearly as much as farmers used to get for beef animals."