Lower heifer kill may point to tighter supply

Prime cattle throughputs fell by 6,000 head in June, compared with the month before, but remained broadly unchanged on June last year, at 150,000 head.

Steer throughputs increased by 6% on the year, to 73,000 head, while young bull throughputs fell 10% to 25,000. “In a change to recent developments, heifer throughputs declined, falling 3% on the year (to 52,000), possibly signalling that supplies are starting to tighten,” said a report by Eblex. Adult cattle throughputs were again lower at 39,000 head.

“A 3% rise in beef and veal production was driven by higher carcass weights, as the better conditions continued to have a positive impact on finishing,” it added. Production in the year to date was up by 2% to 438,000t.

Lamb slaughterings increased by 8% on the year to 907,000 head, according to Defra’s figures. “This partly comes as the UK lamb crop is expected to have been considerably larger than it was a year ago after a much better season,” said the Eblex report. “Additionally, better conditions and good grass growth will have allowed quicker finishing of lambs meaning that they are also being marketed earlier.”