UK lamb production up by over 5% in 2013

UK lamb production rose in 2013, with pork remaining steady and beef falling, Welsh meat bosses reported.

Around 12.5 million lambs went through UK abattoirs in 2013, an increase of 575,000 on the previous year.

John Richards, Industry and Market Information Officer at Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, said: The increase over the 2012 figure is a result of increased numbers of hoggets coming onto the market during the early months of 2013, combined with a better lamb finishing season from last years lamb crop.

According to Defra, an additional 12% of cull ewes were marketed in the UK last year, further boosting sheep meat production.

Richards said: Having an extra 230,000 ewes being marketed is obviously going to have some impact on the UK breeding ewe population in the short term, but ultimately it is producer confidence in the market and the profitability of their businesses which will decide if this pattern will continue in 2014.

The number of prime UK cattle slaughtered in 2013 fell by 2% to 1.93 million. Richards said: In the short term it is expected that beef production in 2014 will increase slightly on last year. When looking at calf registration data from 2013, however, we can see that there may be a tightening of supply in a few years time with 4% fewer beef calves being registered on GB holdings during the first 11 months of 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012.

Uk pig meat production remained steady, with an increase of 1% to 833,000 tonnes.

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