November beef production at highest level this year

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

The UK produced 84,100 tonnes of beef and veal in November, up 3.1% (2,500 tonnes) on October, and 6.1% (4,800 tonnes) on the same month last year.

Prime cattle slaughter stood at 177,600 head, up 2.6% (4,600 head) on last month, and 5.2% (8,800 head) on last year. Average carcase weights eased slightly for the fifth month in a row, averaging 340.7kg. This was 1.6kg (0.5%) lighter than averages seen in November last year, and 200g (less than 0.1%) back on October weights.

Cow slaughter stood at 74,100 head: the highest level for monthly cow throughputs since November 2016. When compared with October, there was an increase of 5.1% (3,600 head), as well as an increase of 11.4% (7,600 head) on November last year. Throughput typically increases during October-November, supported by pre-Christmas kill and producers looking to ease pressure on feed stocks as cattle are housed for winter. However, the higher kill rate this year may well be explained by a few factors; historically high cow prices offering attractive returns, high input costs pressuring margins and regional forage pressures.

In the year to date (Jan-Nov), UK beef production has totalled an estimated 831,500 tonnes, up 1.4% compared with the same period last year. Prime cattle slaughter rose by 0.9% to 1.82 million head, and cow slaughter totalled 612,900 head, up 4.8% on the previous year.

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