Decline in cattle slaughter

Defra statistics for February show a decline of 2% in cattle killed by UK processors, compared to the same period last year, and follows a 3% decline during January.

According to Quality Meat Scotland’s (QMS’) head of economics services Stuart Ashworth: "During February, Scottish abattoirs are reported to have killed 1% fewer prime cattle than they did last year, while throughputs in abattoirs in England and Wales fell by 4%."

Ashworth claimed this was due to lower carcase weights, but stated there had been an increase in cull cow slaughterings compared to last year.

"Adding further to the market mix has been increased export activity. The latest trade data shows UK beef exports in January have increased by 15% and, although there was a small increase in imports, the net effect of the trade was a decline of 600 tonnes of beef on the home market, coupled with the fall in domestic production," he added.

Furthermore, the pig sector has benefited least from the increased farmgate prices for livestock, with statistics revealing an increase of 1% in prime pig slaughterings across the UK during January and February compared to a year ago.

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