More meat produced in 2014

More meat produced in 2014

UK production of sheep, beef and pig meat increased during 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.

The total production of UK sheep meat in 2014 increased by three per cent on the previous year to 298,200 tonnes, despite a downward turn of 13 per cent in cull ewe and ram slaughtering.

Last year’s large lamb crop led to a 3.2 per cent uplift in UK slaughterings to 12.8 million head, which was approximately 400,000 lambs more than in 2013.

“Disastrous weather during 2013, which increased both ewe and lamb mortality, were replaced by exceptionally good conditions in the run-up and during last year’s lambing season,” said Charlotte Morris, Industry Information Officer at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).

In the beef sector, prime cattle slaughterings in the UK totalled 1.94 million in 2014 which was two per cent more than in the previous year. This was largely influenced by an eight per cent increase in the number of steers slaughtered in 2013 but was offset by a 15 per cent reduction in the number of young bulls that were slaughtered.

While there was an increase in the number of beef animals sent to abattoirs last year, prime cattle slaughter figures in 2014 are significantly behind numbers a decade earlier which totalled 2.3 million in 2004.

“The long term declining beef herd in the UK has had a major impact on the number of cattle available for slaughter in recent years,” said Miss Morris. “The breeding herd declined by 2.6 per cent in 2014.

“With fewer beef cattle under two-years-of-age on the ground, tighter supplies and lower beef production are forecast to continue into the near future. It is hoped that this will have a favourable impact on prices.”

Meanwhile, clean pig slaughterings had risen by 1.7 per cent to 10.2 million in 2014, with pig meat production also increasing by 3.5 per cent to 862,100 tonnes on the back of heavier carcase weights.

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