UK beef production steady in November

Friday, 13 December 2019

By Duncan Wyatt

UK beef and veal production stood at 82,800 tonnes in November, similar to year-earlier levels, according to Defra figures. 178,200 head of prime cattle were slaughtered, a decline of 2% year on year, and 8,100 lower than October’s heavy kill. Cow throughput fell by 1% to 67,600 head.

The drop in numbers was offset to a degree by heavier carcase weights. Prime animals were 4kg heavier than last November, while cows were 8kg heavier.

Year to date production is now 1.8% higher than a year ago, which is as much to do with heavier carcase weights as anything else. Prime throughputs are 1% higher but cow throughputs are 2% lower so far this year. More heifers have also come forward (+3%). Increased use of beef semen in the dairy herd implies that many of these animals were always destined for beef production, rather than breeding herd replacements. Nonetheless, we are forecasting a decline in the size of both the dairy and suckler herds, and beef production next year.

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