UK red meat and offal production increased by 7% in the first half of this year, compared with the same period in 2010.

Beef and veal production increased by 8%, to 475,000t, driven by a 5% rise in prime cattle slaughterings and a massive jump in cull cow throughputs. Heifer slaughterings increased by 7%, with steer throughputs up by 5% and young bulls up by 2%, said a report by the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board. “At 290,000 head cull cow slaughterings were almost a quarter higher than a year ago, as producers have taken advantage of firm market prices and rationalised their herds in the face of high input costs.”

Mutton and lamb production increased by 7%, to 125,000t, due to an 11% rise in ewe and ram throughputs and a 5% increase in lamb slaughterings.

And pig meat production rose by 7%, to 395,000t, largely as a result of increased clean pig throughputs. “AHDB estimated sow slaughterings in GB totalled almost 120,000 head in the first half of the year, an increase of 18%. Carcass weights were lower as producers finished clean pigs to lower weights in an attempt to offset high feed costs.”