Prime cattle slaughterings fell by 4% in September year-on-year to 161,000 head in the UK, according to the latest information from DEFRA.

Steer slaughterings dropped by 6%, with heifer throughputs down 4% and young bulls 3% lower on the year.

Cumulatively, the industry slaughtered 1.5m head between January and September – similar to last year. Steers accounted for 47% of total slaughterings – down 3% year-on-year, with heifer throughputs up by 6%, to take 39% of the slaughter mix.

Clean sheep slaughterings fell by 6% to 1.2m head in September, with cumulative throughputs down by 8% to 9.4m. Average carcass weight was 3% heavier in September compared with a year earlier, said AHDB, at 18.8kg. “This increase partially offset the fall in slaughterings, resulting in total sheepmeat production falling by 4% to 27,000t.” Cumulative production was down by 7.4%, to 217,700t.

Pig slaughterings increased by almost 2% in September, with carcass weights reaching a record high of 79kg. In the third quarter of 2009 pig meat production totalled 193,000t – 10,000t more than the same period in 2008, bringing cumulative production for the year to 550,000t – just slightly below last year.