According to the LMC (Livestock and Meat Commission), prime cattle supplies are expected to remain above 2020 levels in Northern Ireland in 2021.
It stated that the latest figures made available from APHIS indicate that there will be “a greater proportion of slaughter ready cattle to become available as we move into the second half of 2021”.
Based on figures obtained, at the end of May 2021, there were 115,370 cattle on local farms for beef production aged between 24-30 months. This was a decline of just over 7% from 2020 levels and 12.4% from 2019 levels.
Beef cattle in Northern Ireland
Cattle for beef production on local farms aged between 18-24 months totalled 119,618 head at the end of May 2021.
This is an increase of 13% relative to 2020 levels during the same period. This takes the total number of cattle for beef production aged between 18-30 months of age on local farms to 234,988 head, up almost 5,000 head or 2.2% from the same period last year.
“Beef cattle in these two age groups will provide the bulk of prime cattle throughput in local plants during the next six months.”
Meanwhile, cattle in the 12-18 month age range at the end of May 2021 will provide the bulk of the prime cattle throughput during the end of 2021 and the first half of 2022.
According to the data, there were 230,833 prime cattle on the ground in this age range at the end of May. This is up marginally from May 2020 and May 2019 levels.
“At the end of May 2021, there were 162,548 cattle in the 6-12 month age category, up 16,618 head or 11.4% from 2020 levels and over 25,000 head or 18.2% from 2019 levels.”
“Similarly, cattle for beef production in the 0-6 month age bracket have increased 15.1% when compared to figures from the end of May 2020 and almost 17% relative to May 2019,” the LMC concluded.