The forecast supply of cattle destined for beef production points to a downturn in the availability of steers during 2022, but this will be offset by an increase in the number of heifers likely to be processed.

Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) data shows an additional 1,813 cattle on farm aged between 24 and 30 months at 31 December when compared to the previous year.

In the case of steers, the number of beef-sired animals at the outlined age bracket is marginally lower year on year, while dairy-sired males are down 9.4% on the previous year.

For steers between 18 and 24 months, numbers are down 0.4%.

In contrast, forecasts show an additional 2,520 beef sired heifers on farm between 24 and 30 months of age, with an extra 2,897 animals in the 18 to 24 month age bracket.

Carcase weight

Data from the LMC also shows that carcase weights for prime cattle averaged 347.6kg during 2021, up from 346kg in 2020 and 343.5kg in 2019.

Steers were at 363kg, up 1.2kg on the previous year, while heifers increased by 0.9kg to 327.4kg. Young bulls averaged 348.4kg, a rise of 5.3kg year on year.

Cull cows averaged 303.7kg at slaughter, compared to 312.6kg in 2020.

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