Sheep meat production lower year on year in October

Thursday, 12 November 2020

In October, the UK produced 27,400 tonnes of sheep meat, according to data from Defra. This is 500 tonnes more than in September, but 2,100 tonnes (7%) less than October last year. This brings total production for the year to 242,000 tonnes, 4% lower than at the same point last year.



1.24 million clean sheep were slaughtered in the month, 5% fewer than a year ago. The trend for lower adult slaughter also continued, with only 120,000 head killed, 24% fewer than a year ago. In the year so far 10.6 million clean sheep have come forward, down 1%, and 1.2 million adult sheep have been slaughtered, 15% down on 2019. Average clean carcase weights were 19.5kg, the same as in October last year. It is the lower adult slaughter that is behind the year on year decline in production. Click here to see how our July forecast has performed so far.

The second lockdown, either in the UK or in France, does not appear to have had a detrimental effect on the finished sheep market. Prices in France have been elevated due to a reported tight supply situation. As long as exports can move, and are in demand, this may continue to lend support to UK prices. Finished and store prices have been high compared to both last year and the five-year average.


Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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