Slaughter statistics up in May

Defra has released slaughter statistics for May 2014, showing higher numbers of slaughterings than in May 2013 for cattle, sheep and pigs.

UK prime cattle slaughterings were 3.2% higher, with beef and veal production almost 5% higher than in May last year.

Debbie Butcher, senior analyst for beef and sheep at Eblex, said: “Production is up significantly as there are higher numbers of steers about and conditions are really good. There are heavier carcase weights and we are producing more beef.

“It’s at a time when consumer demand is a bit sluggish and there’s more product coming in from Ireland. This only means one thing for producers and this is the talk of the last few weeks.”

Meanwhile UK clean sheep slaughterings were 10% higher at 799,000 head, with mutton and lamb production 8.2% higher. UK clean pig slaughterings were 2.5% higher than in May 2013, with pigmeat production 5.1% higher.

Butcher added: “The last time the May lamb kill was this high was in 2008. This is due to a better lamb crop and better conditions. There’s confidence among producers as prices are holding and up they’re killing fewer ewes.”

British Meat Processors Association director Stephen Rossides reacted to the figures: “In principle it’s positive; our members like lots of stuff going through, as high throughputs mean higher efficiency. But what’s important is what the market wants, and what state the market is in.”

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