Beef production remains lower in November

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

The latest Defra figures show that UK beef production remained lower than 2020 levels in November, continuing the trend we have seen all year.

A total of 166,000 prime cattle were processed during the month, 4% above October, but 5% below November a year ago. Within this, the majority of the fall was due to lower numbers of steers coming through (-6,200 head), followed by heifers (-2,900 head). Young bulls saw a slight increase in throughput.

Cow slaughter totalled 65,900 head for the month, up 6% from October but down 4% year-on-year. Tighter cattle supplies have been an ongoing theme for some time now, potentially exacerbated by increased kill in 2020, as the pandemic boosted beef retail demand and supported domestic cattle prices.

Coupled with lighter carcase weights, the November kill led to a total of 77,800 tonnes of beef being produced in the UK during the month, 6% below the same month last year.

In the year to November (inclusive), prime cattle slaughter stood at 1.8 million head, 5% below the same period a year ago. Cow kill stood at 585,000 head, 6% lower year-on-year. Beef production over the same period fell 5% year-on-year to 818,400 tonnes.

So, what next?

Thinking ahead to the coming year, cattle population data suggests that tightness could remain in prime cattle supplies into 2022. We’ll be producing our next round of Agri-Market Outlooks in January, which will cover production in more detail for the coming year and beyond.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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