Massive increases in both the cattle and sheep kills have been recorded to the end of April, the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) confirm.

The cattle kill was up 24,000 head in April compared with 2021, increasing from 137,000 to 161,000.

The overall cattle kill for the year to date also showed a significant lift.

Almost 638,000 animals were slaughtered in the first four months of the year. This is up 11.4%, or almost 73,000 head, on the same period in 2021.

Sharper increase in sheep

An even sharper increase was recorded in the sheep kill. Sheep slaughterings for April were 31% or 63,000 head higher than the same month in 2021.

The sheep kill for April this year was 264,000 head, compared with 261,000 last year.

The overall sheep kill for the year to date has also experienced a marked increase, rising by almost 17%, or close to 166,000, to a total of 978,000 animals.

There was significantly more sheep in the system this spring compared with 2021

The sharp increase in the sheep kill during April has been attributed to the festivals of Easter and Ramadan falling during the month this year.

In addition, there was significantly more sheep in the system this spring compared with 2021.

The hike in the cattle kill has been attributed to the continuing strong demand for manufacturing beef in Britain and Europe.

Soaring prices

Soaring prices this spring, and increased costs, also convinced many farmers to move cattle for slaughter at lighter weights.

A 20% lift in the cow kill has also fed into the overall lift in cattle slaughterings.

Staying with the CSO figures, the data shows that pig slaughterings are running more or less in line with last year.

There was no change in the pig slaughter figures for April 2022 compared with last year. The total pig slaughter figure for the year to the end of April was 1.24m. This was up 1.5% on 2021.