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For more information on this release:
E-mail: agaccounts@cso.ie mairead.griffin@cso.ie derek.osullivan@cso.ie
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-5651
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Livestock Slaughterings

October 2021

CattleSheepPigs
'000 heads
October 2020167.8285.3304.6
October 2021158.2266.6296.9
 % change
October 2021/2020-5.7%-6.6%-2.5%
Jan-Oct 2021/2020-5.7%-5.7%3.9%

The number of cattle slaughtered during the period January to October 2021 decreased by 5.7%

Livestock Slaughterings Release October 2021 Figure 1
go to full release

Cattle slaughterings fell by 5.7% during the period January to October 2021 when compared to the corresponding period in 2020. See Table 1 and graph.

A further comparison between January to October 2021 and the same period in 2020 shows that:

  • Sheep slaughterings contracted by 5.7%
  • The number of pigs slaughtered increased by 3.9% 

An analysis of the data for October 2021 compared to October 2020 shows the following:

  • Cattle slaughterings decreased by 5.7%
  • The number of sheep slaughtered fell by 6.6%
  • Pig slaughterings contracted by 2.5% 
Table 1 Livestock Slaughterings
CategoryYearUnitJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecTotal
Cattle 2019'000 heads170.6 164.7 166.2 156.3 157.6 142.5 165.0 135.3 96.9 178.0 176.0 143.4 1,852.5
 2020 165.4 163.7 173.7 122.7 126.0 165.5 172.1 151.4 160.9 167.8 167.1 145.7 1,881.9
 2021134.6 136.6 164.1 137.2 136.2 139.2 154.0 155.8 ²163.3 ²158.2   1,479.0
                
Sheep2019'000 heads260.3 172.6 180.4 244.9 272.4 231.3 294.0 287.0 247.1 311.1 281.1 268.0 3,050.2
 2020 253.4 205.2 240.3 219.9 229.3 281.7 346.5 247.3 298.9 285.3 249.4 254.5 3,111.7
 2021 217.9 184.9 232.9 201.6 211.4 255.6 306.2 ²283.1 ²297.8 ²266.6   2,458.1
                
Pigs2019'000 heads328.7 278.9 273.9 282.3 298.4 257.7 306.5 285.9 281.3 297.6 296.2 269.9 3,457.2
 2020 309.4 269.0 300.5 291.2 264.3 297.3 311.8 277.0 306.5 304.6 324.9 289.8 3,546.4
 2021291.0 293.6 322.1 312.1 290.6 306.6 314.5 307.0 ²312.2 ²296.9   3,046.4
                
Cattle2019tonnes 157.1 52.4 52.2 51.7 53.0 48.5 55.9 46.0 33.0 61.8 59.9 48.3 619.8
 2020 56.1 53.3 55.4 40.9 43.0 56.6 58.4 52.3 55.6 57.6 55.9 48.4 633.4
 2021 44.7 43.4 51.6 45.5 46.3 46.8 52.1 53.3 ²55.7 ²53.3   492.6
                
Sheep2019tonnes 15.8 3.8 4.1 5.7 5.9 4.8 6.1 6.0 5.3 6.7 6.1 5.8 66.0
 2020 5.6 4.5 5.3 4.7 4.8 5.9 7.1 5.1 6.3 6.1 5.4 5.5 66.2
 2021 4.7 4.0 5.0 4.2 4.4 5.3 6.5 5.9 6.2 5.7   51.9
                
Pigs2019tonnes 129.7 24.8 24.2 24.9 26.5 22.5 26.3 24.8 24.5 26.2 26.3 23.7 304.4
 2020 28.3 24.3 27.3 26.4 24.1 26.8 27.9 24.9 27.6 27.5 29.3 25.7 320.1
 2021 26.9 26.9 29.6 28.5 26.4 27.5 27.8 27.3 ²28.0 ²26.8   275.6
1 Carcass weight
2 Revised
Totals may not equal the sum of the categories due to rounding differences.

Background Notes

Introduction

This release gives the number and carcass weight of cattle, sheep and pig slaughterings in the Republic of Ireland. The figures include slaughterings at both meat establishments approved by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and slaughterhouses and meat plants approved by Local Authorities under S.I. 432 of 2009. The collection of monthly slaughtering data for cattle, sheep, and pigs is governed by Regulation (EC) No. 1165/2008.

DAFM approved plants

Data on the number of slaughterings in meat establishments approved by DAFM for cattle, sheep, and pigs are obtained monthly from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Average carcass weights of cattle are taken from the Department’s Beef Carcass Classification Scheme. Average carcass weights of pigs are based on information obtained directly from DAFM approved plants by the CSO. Average carcass weights of sheep are based on average weights data provided by DAFM.

Local Authorities approved plants

The CSO conducts a monthly survey of all Local Authorities in the State. All slaughterings in slaughterhouses and meat plants approved by Local Authorities under S.I. 432 of 2009 are included.

The carcass weight of cattle, sheep, and pigs slaughtered in premises under Local Authority control corresponds with those applied to DAFM approved plants.

Calves

Calf slaughterings are included with cattle.

Carcass Weights

For cattle, the carcass weight is defined as the weight of the slaughtered animal’s cold body after being skinned, bled and eviscerated and after removal of external genitalia, the limb at the carpus and tarsus, head, tail, kidneys and kidney fats and the udder.

For sheep, the carcass weight is defined as the weight of the slaughtered animal’s cold body after being skinned, bled and eviscerated and after removal of the head, feet, tail and genital organs including the udder. Kidneys and kidney fats are included in the carcass.

For pigs, the carcass weight is defined as the weight of the slaughtered animal’s cold body either whole or divided in half along the mid-line, after being bled and eviscerated and after the removal of the tongue, bristles, hooves, genitalia, flare fat, kidneys and diaphragm.

Comparing CSO data with other sources of slaughtering data

The CSO’s slaughtering data may differ from other sources of slaughtering data due to different reference periods and the completeness of the data. This release is based on data received from both DAFM and local authority approved slaughtering facilities and is compiled on a calendar monthly basis. Other sources may be compiled on a weekly basis, may not include data from local authority approved slaughtering facilities and may exclude some subcategories of animals.

Particular care should always be taken when comparing weekly data and monthly data. Weekly data can straddle different months and indeed years and as a result, can lead to significant differences when compared with monthly data.

Timing of Easter

Easter falls each year on a Sunday between March 22nd and April 25th, inclusively. The level of sheep slaughterings in March and April each year is greatly influenced by when Easter falls.

Dates for Easter Sunday:

2021 - 4th April

2020 - 12th April

2019 - 21st April 

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