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US Cattle, Pig Prices Firm; Contrast in Irish Trends

by 5m Editor
29 May 2012, at 8:33am

GLOBAL - While pig slaughterings in Ireland have risen so far this year, cattle slaughterings have declined, marking a contrast in trends.

According to AHDB's European Market Survey, in the first quarter of 2012, Irish pig throughputs have been well ahead of 2011 levels, indicating a 7 per cent increase. According to Bord Bia, this is a result of a large increase in sow and boar slaughterings as well as a smaller increase in clean pig throughputs.

Irish cattle slaughterings in the first quarter of the year fell 10 per cent. This was driven by a 14 per cent decline in the number of male cattle killed.

Cattle and pig prices in the US have both been at high levels since the since the start of 2011. This year, the high point for cattle prices appears to have been reached earlier than usual, as the mild winter has helped improve weight gains by cattle in feedlots, leading to somewhat higher production. However, USDA forecasts that beef production in the second half of the year will be seven per cent lower than in the same period last year.

Pig prices have also been at a high level over the last year but have fallen back from their peak level recorded last summer. Although prices generally rise through the first half of the year, there has been no sign of this rise so far this year. Higher pork production is one of the factors leading to a price rise this spring. During the first quarter it was two per cent higher than a year earlier.

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