Year starts with lower beef and sheep production

UK red meat and offal production fell by 4% in the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period last year.

Beef and veal production dropped by 8%, to 223,000t, driven by lower prime cattle and cull cow slaughterings, said a report by AHDB Meat Services. “Carcass weights were broadly similar to those in the first three months of 2011.” Prime cattle slaughterings fell by 9%, to 501,000 head, with the young bull kill down by 20%, heifers by 8% and steers by 6%. At just over 141,000 head, cull cow slaughterings were 9% lower, year-on-year.

Mutton and lamb production fell by 2%, to 62,600t. “Ewe and ram throughputs were 11% lower on the year, at 443,000 head, with lamb throughputs down 3%, at 2.58 million head. The better seasonal conditions and increased feed availability has resulted in carcase weights increasing considerably, offsetting the decline in throughputs to some extent.”

In contrast, pig meat production increased by 2%, to 206,000t, with clean pig throughputs rising by 2%, to 2.48m head, and sow slaughterings increasing by 5%, to 65,000 head. Carcass weights had dropped as producers attempt to offset high feed costs.

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