UK meat production sees upturn in 2014

UK beef, sheep and pork meat production all increased in 2014, according to the latest figures released by Defra.

This was due to a combination of factors, including a rise in both slaughterings and carcase weights.

Lambs led the rise, with a 3.2% increase in slaughterings to 12.8m head, approximately 400,000 more than in 2013. The total production of UK sheep meat increased 3% on the previous year to 298,200 tonnes (t).

Charlotte Morris, industry information officer at Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), said: “Disastrous weather during 2013, which increased both ewe and lamb mortality, was replaced by exceptionally good conditions in the run-up and during last year’s lambing season.

“Producers encountered higher lambing rates and optimal growing conditions across the UK, leading to increased throughputs in July.”

The number of cattle slaughtered increased 2% on the previous year to 1.94 million, producing 877,600t of beef and veal.

A fall in cereal costs and increased forage quality allowed beef producers to produce animals of heavier weights, with the overall average prime cattle carcase weight for 2014 standing at 349kg, 9kg heavier than in 2013.

Meanwhile clean pig slaughterings – animals that have been bred purely for slaughter – rose to 10.2 million in 2014, up 1.7%.

Pig meat production also increased by 3.5% to 862,100t on the back of heavier carcase weights.

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