UK cattle slaughter numbers up

The number of cattle slaughtered in the UK is up on previous years according to the latest research from red meat body Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

More cattle were slaughtered in 2014 compared to 2013 because of earlier finishings, QMS head of economics Stuart Ashworth has reported.

This led to cattle coming to the market earlier, particularly in the early winter months. Meanwhile, the average carcase weight continues to be higher than last year, with finishing cattle growing well over the past quarter, pushing up the quantity of beef on the market.

“The latest information shows the average age of UK prime cattle at slaughter during December was eight days younger than the previous year and that cattle had been slaughtered at a younger age throughout the final quarter of 2014,” said Ashworth.

“Meanwhile producer prices continue to edge higher which, given the greater tonnage of beef being produced, promises some underlying strength in the market – although Scottish producer prices remain almost 5% lower than 12 months ago,” he said.

Ashworth said this was also reflected in the Irish and US markets, with the US experiencing the biggest upward movement.

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