Friday, 12 June 2020
By Rebecca Wright
Lamb kill production in May had many of the same trends as in April. Numbers forwards were significantly down (-22%) on-the-year, at 766,000 head, according to Defra data. It is without a doubt that Covid-19 was partially behind the decline. The available number of lambs was also under pressure during the month, with poor grass growth limiting finishing. Carcase weights were down 300g, to 20.3kg.
Ewe kill was down almost 40% year-on-year, to 83,600 head. This is the lowest monthly adult sheep kill since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001. Prior to that, it would have been the early 80s when slaughter was last this low.
Unsurprisingly, since the kill was so low, production for May was only 17,900 tonnes. This means that since lockdown UK sheep meat production is more than 11,000 tonnes lower than in the same period of 2019.
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