Cattle slaughterings in the EU increased by 2% in the first quarter of 2011 as producers facing high input costs reduced their herd size.
Adult slaughterings totalled 5.2m head, with the calf kill reaching 1.6m – both 2% up on the year. Belgium recorded a 23% rise, with the UK up by 12%.
“The increase in adult cattle slaughterings in the EU as a whole was mainly driven by a 5% rise in the number of cows being culled, as high input costs and pressure on farmgate prices forced both dairy and beef producers to rationalise their herds,” says a report byAHDB Meat Services.
However, Irish slaughterings fell by 8%, following a decline in the breeding herd in 2010. This tight domestic supply, combined with buoyant export demand, has boosted Irish prices well above year-ago values, and above GB levels for most of May and June. “Good prospects for live exports are expected to further exacerbate supply shortages, resulting in the outlook for Irish prices being fairly bright,” says the report.