March 23, 2023
UK beef production down in February due to lighter cattle and lower slaughter
Data from the UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed that beef production in February 2023 was 71,400 tonnes, down 1,400 tonnes or 1.9% lower year-on-year and down 2,900 tonnes or 3.9% lower from January levels, UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board reported.
Lower slaughter rates are the main reason for lower production month-on-month, as prime cattle slaughter levels reached 157,400 head, 4,000 head lower or a 2.5% decline from January. This is comparable to the slaughter in February 2022, which was only 1,500 head or 0.9% lower and 2,300 head below the 5-year average.
In February, the average carcase weight for prime cattle increased by 0.7 kg from January to 343 kg/head. Although there has been little month-to-month variation in carcase weights, there has been a drop of 7.8 kg/head since February of last year, resulting in the overall decline in production year-over-year.
Cull cow slaughter levels total 54,500 head, or 8.7% (5,200 head) fewer than the previous month. Year-on-year, there has been an increase in slaughter of 2,400 heads.
Average cow carcass weights have increased by 1 kg to 308 kg/head month-on-month. Similar to prime cattle, there has been a 6.5 kg/head decrease compared to February 2022.
- UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board