September UK cattle throughput up on previous month, but still behind on last year’s level

Thursday, 15 October 2020

By Charlie Reeve

Defra estimates for cattle throughput in the UK was down during September year-on-year. UK prime cattle slaughter totalled 168,700 head, a decrease of 3.2% on September 2019.

The total prime cattle slaughter figure for September is still up by 4,700 head compared to the previous month. Steers, heifers, young bulls and calves all had reductions in throughput compared to September 2019. Cows and adult bulls were the only category to show growth for the month year-on-year.

Carcase weights for steers have dropped back on the previous year, in September steers averaged 356.5kg, a decrease of 4.4kg on September 2019. Young Bulls remained stable compared to last year for September at 342.2kg, although were notably lighter than the previous month being down by 8.4kg.

Heifer carcase weights were up for September year-on-year averaging 323.2kg up 6.4kg, but down marginally on the previous month.

Reports suggest this general reduction in carcase weights is due to farmers finishing cattle earlier in order to take advantage of the relatively high prices for the time of year currently.

UK beef and veal production totalled 77,500 tonnes, down 1.3% compared to September 2019. However, production for September did still increase by 2,900 tonnes on the previous month. Based on the first nine months of 2020, production totalled 694,100 tonnes, up 3% on the year.

*Defra have advised that its survey response was lower than usual again in September, due to the increased strain COVID-19 is having on the livestock industry. To compensate, Defra has made greater use of the Food Standards Agency throughput data to maintain coverage. This may affect how livestock numbers are split amongst their classifications, such as how cattle are split between prime and adult cattle.

Charlie Reeve

Trainee Analyst

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