Beef Plan straight talk

lets talk about weekly beef kill

12-12-2018

Let talk about "weekly beef kill" and carcass sizes. We are constantly being told that the poor prices farmers are receiving from processors are due to us producing "too much beef". This statement is backed up by the weekly beef kill figures. So how much beef are we actually producing?

We know that carcass sizes have gotten smaller and smaller over the years due to the quality assurance grid ensuring animals are killed "in spec" (i.e slaughtered younger with smaller carcasses) and also due to the increase in the dairy herd which naturally have smaller carcasses. As a result this "weekly beef kill" figure is not giving us a true picture of how much beef we are producing, to get a true picture we need to look at tonnage of beef produced. And thanks to the CSO we can do that(as far back as 1992), so here you go :

Tonnage of beef produced 1992-2017 :

1992 : 546,000, 1993 : 506,000, 1994 : 444,000, 1995 : 477,000, 1996 : 535,000, 1997 : 563,000

1998 : 591,000, 1999 : 641,000, 2000 : 576,000, 2001 : 579,000, 2002 : 540,000, 2003 : 567,000

2004 : 562,000, 2005 : 545,000, 2006 : 571,000, 2007 : 580,000, 2008 : 536,000, 2009 : 513,000

2010 : 558,000, 2011 : 546,000, 2012 : 495,000, 2013 : 518,000, 2014 : 582,000, 2015 : 564,000

2016 : 588,000, 2017 : 617,000

We can see from the above that the increase in beef production from 1992 to 2017 is only 71000 tons(13%) despite all of the farm efficiency improvements. This is however not the final figure as we also need to add beef imports into the equasion which accoring to the minister recently is beef that is imported, processed and then reexported, so lets subtract the beef imports.

In 2017 we imported 41000 tons of beef and in 1992 we imported 15000 tons. With the imports removed between the years 1992 and 2017 the increase in beef production was 26000 tons or just 4.6%! Does that really justify the farmer getting hammered on price by the beef processors?

CSO reference of where the figures above came from : https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Database/eirestat/Supply%20Balances/Supply%20Balances_statbank.asp?SP=Supply%20Balances&Planguage=0