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HomeBeefIrish beef kill could fall by 50,000-60,000 head in 2023
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Irish beef kill could fall by 50,000-60,000 head in 2023

Outlook: 2023 Irish Beef Kill

Irish beef cattle numbers could fall by 50,000-60,000 head in 2023, according to a Bord Bia forecast.

That is what Mark Zieg, Bord Bia beef sector manager, told attendees at the state agency’s beef marketing seminar in Killashee Hotel in Naas, Co Kildare, last week on January 13th, 2023.

He outlined to the meeting that Bord Bia anticipates that the national beef kill could stand at 1.77 million in 2023, which would be a decrease compared to last year’s throughput of 1.82 million head.

Moreover, the national beef kill stood at 1.69m in 2021, 1.80m in 2020, 1.74m in 2019, 1.80 million in 2018 and 1.75m in 2017, data he presented to the meeting showed.

He provided a more comprehensive breakdown of the total weekly cattle kill in DAFM-approved beef plants in 2021 and 2022, as per the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s database.

National beef kill

To be exact, the national beef kill was up by 7% in 2022 to 1,820,485 head compared to 2021’s 1,687,127 head, a difference of 133,348 head.

In 2022, the prime cattle kill amounted to 1,349,281, while plants processed a further 413,410 cows and 57,594 head under the ‘other’ bracket.

In 2021, the prime cattle kill accounted for 1,283,710 head, while factories slaughtered a further 354,374 cows and a further 49,043 cattle came under the ‘other’ bracket.


  • Prime kill – Up 65,571 head in 2022 – Increase of 5%.
  • Cow kill – Up 59,036 head in 2022 – Increase of 14%;
  • Other – Up 8,751 head in 2022 – Increase of 15%;

The state agency forecasts a “slight” GB production increase while it foresees that EU production will fall in line with overall downward trends in the herd.

Zieg told the meeting that consumption is under pressure on the back of what he listed as a “sharp” increase in prices, decreased spending power and green policies.

He outlined that 2023 EU beef consumption is expected to decline by 1% in 2023, with a total decline of 5.5% likely between 2022-2027.

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