UK sheep meat production down in February

Thursday, 12 March 2020

By Rebecca Wright

During February, 835,600 lambs came forward, which is around 70,000 head fewer than in Feb 2019, according to the latest Defra data. The number of ewes was back year-on-year by around 17,000 head, to 119,500 head. It is not surprising that ewe numbers were down, as the kill had been elevated this time last year, and during the summer of 2019.

Lamb carcase weights were back slightly, which is also not surprising considering the poor pasture conditions over winter. Meanwhile, ewe carcase weights have remained steady. Overall, combining kill levels and average carcase weights, production was down 2,000 tonnes, at 19,900 tonnes for the month.

The lamb kill is around 60,000 higher than forecast in December 2019. Much of the increase occurred during the last two months of 2019, potentially encouraged forward by a combination of poor weather conditions, strong prices for the time of year, and uncertainty over what might happen post 31 Jan with regards to Brexit.  

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