September cattle kill remains behind a year ago

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

According to the latest Defra figures, 160,600 prime cattle were slaughtered during September in the UK. The kill level was largely stable compared to August, but 5% lower than the same month a year ago. Overall beef production for the month fell 6% to 73,600 tonnes.

Based on cattle population data, supplies of prime cattle were expected to be tighter. Reflecting this, prime cattle throughputs in September were 3% below the five-year average.

Steers and young bulls showed the greatest decline (-6%), while heifer kill fell by 4%. Carcase weights were 1% (3kg) heavier on average than a year ago.

Cull cow slaughter was 10% lower year-on-year, with 54,800 animals processed. Average carcase weights were also 1% heavier year-on-year.

Breaking the figures down by region, both England & Wales and Northern Ireland reported lower prime cattle kill in September compared to a year ago (-9% and -1%, respectively). Scotland on the other hand posted a 4% increase in prime cattle throughputs. Adult cattle kill (cows and breeding bulls) was lower in all countries.

What’s the picture for the year so far?

The September figures brought UK prime cattle slaughter for the first nine months of the year to 1.48 million head, 4% lower than the same period a year ago. Cow kill totalled 457,300 head over the same period, 6% behind the same period last year. Beef production totalled 667,100 tonnes during Jan-Sep, down 4% year-on-year.

The year-to-date figures are largely in agreement with our forecasts from July. It will be interesting to see how cow kill progresses as we head into winter, considering the current strength in cull prices and high feed costs.

Image of staff member Hannah Clarke

Hannah Clarke

Senior Analyst (Red Meat)

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