Slaughter numbers up from last year
Strong prices and good finishing conditions brought bigger numbers of cattle and sheep to slaughter in May compared to the same month last year. The cattle kill was up 0.5pc to 135,600, while sheep slaughterings were up by 13pc to 187,200.
The higher numbers will be seen as farmer reaction to strong prices for lamb, cull ewes and cattle. The good grazing conditions also allowed farmers to move lambs faster to the point of slaughter and free up ewes for culling. Meanwhile, the pig kill increased by 12pc.
However, the overall number of cattle slaughtered so far this year is 4.6pc lower than in the corresponding period last year.
Industry analysts expect this drop to increase as the year progresses due to record levels of live exports in recent years which have reduced the number of cattle that would normally have been kept on for feeding on Irish farms. Over the same period, there was no change in sheep slaughterings while there was an increase of 9pc in pig slaughterings.
Pig slaughterings were up right across the major pig producing countries in Europe in the first quarter of the year.