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UK beef production dips lower in January

16 February 2021


The latest statistics from Defra show that UK beef production in January was 3% lower than the same month last year, at 76,400 tonnes, writes Hannah Clarke, Livestock Analyst with AHDB.

Within this, a total of 166,200 prime cattle and 55,100 cows were slaughtered, down 2% and 6% on the year, respectively. Steer slaughter was 4% lower at 84,400 head, while heifer and young bull slaughter were both 1% lower year-on-year.

Average UK prime cattle carcase weights were virtually unchanged from last January, at 348.8kg.

Looking by country, prime throughputs were lower in both England & Wales and Northern Ireland, but higher in Scotland. A total of 100,000 prime cattle were killed in England & Wales during the month, down 6% from January 2020. Northern Irish throughputs were down 3% at 29,000 head. Scottish throughputs however were up 12% on the year at 37,000 head, with increases in all cattle types.

Our forecast for 2021 is that total UK cattle slaughter will fall by around 5% year-on-year, due to tighter cattle availability. This is expected to contribute to a year-on-year reduction in beef production of 5%.


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