Cattle throughput in factories was up by 26,600 head in January 2024 when compared with the kill reported for the same month in 2023, Central Statistics Office (CSO) data shows.

This represents a monthly rise in the cattle kill of almost 8% year on year, and a jump of over 15% on January 2022’s slaughter numbers, as a total of 165,600 cattle passed though factories last month.

Furthermore, the latest animal identification and movement data published by the Department of Agriculture for 1 January 2024 shows contrasting trends in cattle numbers.

The standout figures in terms of cattle numbers is that there are over 50,000 fewer cattle aged six to 18 months of age on farms compared to 1 January 2023.

This is driven by almost 60,000 fewer dairy males aged six to 12 months on farms on 1 January.

Sheep kill

The CSO reported that sheep slaughterings were up 2.4%, or slightly over 6,000 head, in January 2024 when compared with the same month a year previous.

This suggests that the large carryover of lambs into 2024 has yet to go through factories, as Bord Bia expected 40,000 extra lambs to be brought into the new year than had been on hand at the beginning of 2023.