Beef production is likely to drop by almost 4% over the next two years, according to a forecast by AHDB Meat Services. High feed costs and concerns over profitability mean farmers are likely to keep fewer male calves, reducing the availability of prime cattle and calves for slaughter in 2011 and 2012.
“The cost of feed and a reluctance to keep animals on the farm longer than necessary is forecast to lead to a reduction in average carcass weights.” This would cut total production to 875,000t in 2012.
Sheep meat production is likely to increase by more than 1%, to 280,000t in 2011 and remain static in 2012, says AHDB’s Meat Survey.
“Improvements to the breeding flock and the exceptional seasonal conditions seen so far in 2011 are the main drivers behind a significant rise in the lambing rate for the UK, to above 121% for the next two years.” This will boost lamb slaughterings to 12.4m head in 2012, when adult sheep slaughterings will fall as the breeding flock stabilises.
Pork production remains uncertain, but is forecast to drop slightly next year before increasing by 2% in 2012, to 792,000t.