UK red meat production increases during 2015

Beef production in the UK experienced a 0.6% rise, while sheep meat production saw a rise of 0.5% during the 12 months of 2015.

These figures come from the latest market analysis by Hybu Cig Cymru Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

Some 883,200 tonnes (t) of beef were recorded through UK abattoirs during last year; this is compared to 300,300t of sheepmeat.

According to HCC, prime cattle slaughterings in abattoirs in the UK totalled 1.92 million head. This is a decrease of 2% on figures in 2014. Juxtaposing this, sheep slaughterings increased by 2%, up to 13.1m head during the quoted 12-month period.

Meanwhile, throughputs for the new-season lamb (NSL) period were 9.1m, equal to the same timescale in 2014. Sheepmeat production did see an increase from May to December of 0.5% to 206,100t on the back of heavier carcase weights for much of the season.

Beef cattle slaughterings in the UK for December also saw an increase. Standing at 148,300 head, slaughterings rose 7% compared to the same month in the previous year. Heavier carcase weights were a trend for 2015, with beef production in the UK increasing 11% to 69,700t for December.

However, sheepmeat production during the same month fell by 3% to 23,400t, with throughputs at 1.1m head, a 4% fall on the last month of 2014.

In Wales, sheepmeat production during December fell 7% to 5,200t, with throughputs at 285,900 head, equating to an 8% fall on December 2014. Furthermore, throughputs for the NLS period in Wales were at 2.5m head, level with the same period in 2014.

Welsh sheep slaughterings could remain low during the old-season lamb (OSL) period between January and May because the June Welsh Government census data estimated a 4% decline in the Welsh lamb crop in 2015, said HCC industry information officer Charlotte Morris.

However, emphasis must be placed on the quality of the lambs presented at market, as the recent poor weather conditions could have affected lamb growth rates and condition.

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