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Total cattle kill down by 5.8pc

The total cattle kill was back 5.8pc during the first four months of the year, with 33,000 fewer animals slaughtered.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show the total cattle kill for the first four months of this year was 534,100hd, compared with 567,100 for the same period last year.

However, the kill was up on the January to April period in 2009 when 491,900hd were killed.

The factory throughput for April was only marginally back on last year, with 137,500hd killed in April this year compared with 139,300 last year -- a 1.3pc difference.

Tighter numbers of stock have been critical in pushing up factory prices this spring, with factories competing vigorously to secure supplies.

The CSO figures also showed an 8.2pc increase in sheep slaughterings for April this year compared to last year, while the pig kill was 3.1pc higher.

However, for the first four months of the year there was a 3pc decrease in the sheep kill, while the pig kill was up 8.4pc.

For the period from January 1 to April 30, the sheep kill totalled 617,700hd compared to 637,000hd last year. During the same period, the pig kill jumped from 854,300hd last year to 926,100hd this year.

Meanwhile, Brazilian beef exports fell by 14pc for the first quarter of the year, according to the latest market report from Bord Bia.

For the first quarter of this year, Brazilian beef exports hit 378,000t, a drop of 14pc on the previous year.

There was further good news for European beef producers on the exchange rate, with the Brazilian real continuing to hold steady against the euro. It is now almost 9pc stronger relative to the same period last year. As a consequence, Brazilian beef prices have risen by 35pc to €3,600/t.

Some industry sources have suggested that Brazilian beef exports for the full year will rise by 3pc to 1.85m tonnes. However, with exports to Russia suspended and strong domestic demand, this level of export growth might not be achievable this year.

Indo Farming