March 13, 2020


UK Defra reported high UK beef production in February 2020


The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said UK beef production hit 74,900 tonnes last month, 1.5% higher than in 2019, reported the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


The Defra data showed 163,400 prime cattle was slaughtered, an additional 2,000 compared to 2019. 52,100 cattle came forward, 1,000 lower than 2019.


Cattle carcass weights were high, with an average of over 350 kg for prime cattle, 2.5 kg higher than in the same period last year and 2 kg higher compared to January 2020. Cattle weighed 314 kg on average in February this year, 3 kg higher than January 2020 and 2.7 kg higher than February 2019.


2019's market oversupply was due to heavier carcasses, but deadweight prices increased throughout February this year which could mean higher demand from processors.


Prices stayed low, lower than 2019 prices and lower than the five year average. 


Total cattle population numbers provided by the British Cattle Movement Service showed less cattle on the ground at the start of this year, so the UK AHDB expects lower slaughter levels in 2020. However, throughputs suggest otherwise.


-      UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board