Beef statistics point to profitable production
A Market Bulletin from Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), suggests that the agricultural industry has seen an increase in beef production despite a decrease in average carcase weight.
A project part-funded by HCC has revealed that one of the important factors for driving profitable beef production is lowering the age of slaughter.
Defra figures show that the number of prime cattle slaughtered in the UK throughout 2016 saw a 2.4% increase when compared with 2015.
John Richards, HCC’s industry information executive, said: “Normally, a throughput of an additional 45,000 prime beef animals would mean a significantly higher level of production than the previous year.
“This, however, was not the case in 2016 as carcase weights were down throughout the year. This meant that production from prime beef animals was 693,000 tonnes, an increase of just over one per cent.”
This decline in carcase weight was influenced by the change in deadweight specification from processors throughout the UK.
John Richards added: “During 2016 most processors in the UK lowered their highest weight band to around 400kg, this was to meet consumer requirements for smaller joint sizes and shorter cooking times.”
“Beef producers in the UK responded to these changes by producing lighter carcases.”
Data from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) also highlighted changes in the average age of animals sent to UK abattoirs last year.
“The BCMS figures showed that there were fewer cattle of ages 26-30 months going through UK abattoirs last year compared to 2015, despite a higher total throughput.
“As with carcase weights, this emphasises how producers responded to market signals.
“While some producers may have been dismayed by the lowered carcase weights seen in 2016, a project part-funded by HCC revealed that one of the key drivers for profitable beef finishing was addressing and lowering the age of slaughter while meeting market specification.”