DEFRA has made significant revisions to its sheep slaughter statistics for 2009 and 2010, revealing a much higher kill than expected.

It increased the 2009 sheep kill in England and Wales by 24,000 head, to total 2.17m head, with lamb slaughterings up by 200,000, to 13.4m. Further revisions to carcass weights resulted in average lamb weights declining slightly, and adult sheep increasing marginally, says a report by AHDB Meat Services. “Overall production in 2009 was revised upwards by 4,000t, to total 307,000t.”

The 2010 revisions were not quite as dramatic, increasing adult sheep slaughterings by 15,000 head, to 1.97m head, with the lamb kill up by almost 110,000 head, to 12.3m. Carcass weights for both lambs and adult sheep were reduced slightly. “Overall this had little effect on mutton and lamb production, which was revised upwards by just over 2,000t to 277,000t.”

DEFRA also made some changes to its cattle statistics, increasing beef and veal production by 550t across the two years. “Throughputs of all classes of cattle were revised upwards with the exception of light calves,” says AHDB. Pig production was increased by just under 300t in 2010.