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UK beef, veal production drops 5% in 2021

18 January 2022

According to a recent report from the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), a total of 1.95 million prime cattle were processed in 2021 in the UK. This is 5% fewer than in 2020. A further 638,000 cull cows were slaughtered, 6% lower than the year before.

Overall, average carcase weights remained relatively stable from 2020, reported Hannah Clarke, AHDB Livestock Analyst.

Continuing the trend seen throughout most of 2021, UK beef production in December was restricted by lower cattle throughputs. According to the latest Defra figures, 149,000 prime cattle were processed in December in UK abattoirs, 9% lower than the same month a year ago. 56,300 cows came forwards, 1% more than a year ago.

Lower cattle slaughter and steady carcase weights meant that total beef production reached 69,600 tonnes in December, down 7% on the same month last year. However, production in 2020 was particularly high, driven by a combination of the pandemic and end-of-year Brexit deadline. Production during December was closer, although still lower than, the five-year average.


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