Northern Ireland suckler cow herd grows

Suckler cow numbers are starting to increase in Northern Ireland, with more heifers being kept as replacements.

The number of heifers being slaughtered had dropped sharply over the past 12-18 months, said a report by the Livestock and Meat Commission. “This has had a large role to play in the fall of the prime kill figures.”

In the year to June, prime cattle slaughterings were 63,198 head – 10.3% lower than the same period last year. Heifer slaughterings fell by 13.5% over the same period, to 59,292 head, with heifers now accounting for 36% of the total prime kill compared to 38% in 2011.

“This decline in the heifer kill has coincided with a continuing recovery of NI suckler cow numbers, which increased by 3% in the year to December 2011.” Calf registrations in the first six months of this year had increased by 3.7% compared with the first half of 2011, with the number of beef-sired calf registrations up by 2.6%

The number of in-calf suckler heifers increased by 9% in the year to December, and beef calf numbers were likely to show a marked increase in the next few years, it added.













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