UK lamb and pork production rises while beef falls

UK lamb and pork production rises while beef falls

Latest figures reveal that the amount of sheep meat produced in the UK during 2013 increased by 5.3 per cent to 290,000 tonnes.

“The increase over the 2012 figure is as a result of increased numbers of hoggets coming onto the market during the early months of 2013 combined with a better lamb finishing season for last year lamb crop,” said John Richards, Industry and Market Information Officer with Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales. “It meant that we returned to a more expected seasonal supply situation.”

Just under 12.5 million lambs went through UK abattoirs in 2013, an increase of 575,000 over the previous year.

In addition a further 12 per cent of cull ewes were marketed in the UK, further boosting sheep meat production, according to figures produced by Defra.

“Having an extra 230,000 ewes being marketed is obviously going to have some impact on the UK breeding ewe population in the short term,” said Mr Richards. “But ultimately it is producer confidence in the market and the profitability of their businesses which will decide if this pattern will continue in 2014.”

The number of prime UK cattle slaughtered during 2013 fell by two per cent to 1.93 million, but within this there was a difference between steer, heifer and young bull throughputs.

“The number of young bulls that were marketed during 2013 increased by three per cent while heifer throughputs increased by one per cent,” said Mr Richards. “Steer numbers, however fell by over five per cent with 50,000 fewer going through UK abattoirs.

“This, combined with a five per cent decline in cull cows and bulls, led to the overall production decreasing by four per cent to 848,000 tonnes.

“In the short term it is expected that beef production in 2014 will increase slightly on last year. When looking at calf registration data from 2013, however, we can see that there may be a tightening of supply in a few year’s time with four per cent fewer beef calves being registered on GB holdings during the first 11 months of 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012.”

UK pig meat production in 2013 remained relatively stable with an increase of one per cent to 833,000 tonnes. This increase was largely driven by increased carcase weights.

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