British red meat and offal production increased by 5% in the first half of 2010, compared to a year ago, according to data from DEFRA.

Beef and veal production rose by 9%, to almost 460,000t, with slaughterings up by 5% and prime cattle carcass weights more than 10kg higher, year on year.

“Following the high prices recorded for all classes of store cattle at the spring sales, finishers have taken cattle through to heavier slaughter weights as the finished trade has eased in an attempt to maximise returns from their bought-in cattle,” said the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s latest report.

Mutton and lamb production fell by 15%, to 115,000t, due to a 15% drop in slaughterings. “Lamb supplies continue to be tight as a result of the declining breeding flock and possible increased ewe lamb retentions,” said the report. The drop was most pronounced in Northern Ireland, with a 27% fall as a result of the drop in breeding flock numbers.

Pig meat production increased by 8% over the same period, to 370,000t. Average carcass weights were about 1kg higher than last year, and slaughterings were 6% up, year on year.

• code123