UK

AHDB analysis: September beef and lamb production in UK

Beef production levels for September 2023 sat at 70,700 tonnes, according to the most recent Defra production statistics. This is a decrease of 3,000 tonnes (-4%), compared to August. Furthermore, production levels when compared to those seen in September 2022, have declined by 2%.

Posted on Oct 24 ,00:05

AHDB analysis: September beef and lamb production in UK

Prime cattle slaughter levels for September 2023 totalled 161,200 head, compared to 167,500 in August 2023, a fall of 4%. Additionally, September’s prime cattle slaughterings sat below the 5-year average by 3,800 head, as well as September 2022 by 1,500 head (-1%). As Christmas procurement gathers pace, we would expect to see an increase in seasonal slaughter levels in the final quarter.

Cow slaughter for September 2023 (48,100) was also down by 5% compared to September 2022 (50,800). It has also declined by 1,500 head (-3%) against the previous month.

Prime cattle carcase weights have been lighter throughout 2023 and this trend has continued into September. Average prime cattle carcase weights for September sat at 340kg/head, a small drop of 0.4% (-1.5kg) compared to September 2022, contributing to the decline in production. Additionally, when compared with the 5-year average for September (342.4kg/head) weights have declined by 2.1kg. Supporting this data, market reports suggest that while forage production has improved this year, variable quality has contributed to increased instances of cattle coming forwards for slaughter slightly under-finished.

Cow carcase weights have remained relatively stable, at an average of 298.3kg/head in September, a decrease of 0.3kg compared to the 5-year average and a 0.1kg decrease compared to August 2023.

UK sheep meat production in September 2023 totalled 22,700 tonnes according to Defra. This is a decline of 4% from August, where production totalled 24,400 tonnes. Production levels for lamb and mutton were also down by 7% compared to September 2022 (23,700t). September 2023 also sat below the 5-year average by 12%.

Carcase weights have had little impact on production figures for September 2023, at an average of 19.6kg/head, the same weight as August and a mere 0.1kg/head below the September 2022 average.

Declining production rates have been driven by the decrease in slaughterings. UK clean sheep slaughterings fell from the previous month, down by 4% from 1,037,000 to 994,000 head. September 2023 rates also sat below the slaughter figure for September 2022 by 4%. Adult sheep slaughter rates have also declined by 4% since August 2022, from 151,900 to 145,500 head.

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