A sharp increase in bull slaughterings boosted cattle throughputs at Northern Ireland’s meat plants by 8% in August, compared to August 2009. Young bull throughputs more than doubled year-on-year, putting the cumulative annual rise at 57%.


The increase was mainly driven by an increase in the number of dairy bull calves being retained for domestic production and finished, said the Livestock and Meat Commission‘s report. “The number of dairy-sired male cattle on the ground has increased by 11,000 head (33%) between August 2009 and August 2010, and this has clearly led to more bull slaughterings.”

The number of mature bulls slaughtered had trebled over the past year. However, steer, heifer and cull cow throughputs all declined in August, with steers down 6%, heifers down 1% and cull cows down 15%, reflecting the decline in beef cattle on the ground.

“The number of beef-sired cattle aged between 12-30 months is 11% lower this August, and this is beginning to have an impact in factory throughputs. It is likely that this will ultimately lead to a continued decline in steer and heifer throughput, unless the factories can import more cattle for direct slaughter.”