July 19, 2021


AHDB: UK beef production lower in June



A total of 72,000 tonnes of beef and veal was produced in the United Kingdom in June, 8% lower compared to the same month a year ago, according to Defra figures, said the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board on July 15.


This was mostly driven by a fall in cow slaughter, with numbers down 21% from the same month a year ago.


A total of 44,600 cows were slaughtered during June, a 12,100 head decline year-on-year. AHDB analyst Hannah Clarke noted that cow slaughter in June 2020 was 24% higher than the previous five-year average off the back of strong retail demand. The June 2021 figure is closer to previous years, although still down 8% compared to June 2019.


Adult bull slaughter stood at 1,500 head, down 12% year-on-year.


Cow carcass weights during June averaged 315.5kg, 1% heavier year-on-year, while adult bulls were on average 4% heavier at 503.2kg.


For the first six months of the year, cow slaughter reached 298,100 head, 4% lower compared to the same period a year ago.


Prime cattle kill was also lower during June, reaching 163,300 head, 4% less than numbers slaughtered in June 2020. Within this, young bull slaughter remained relatively unchanged (+0.3%) at 20,900 head. Steer kill fell by 7% year-on-year to 78,000 head, while heifer kill was down 2% at 64,400 head.


Looking at average carcass weights during June, steers and heifers were slightly lighter than they were in June last year, at 360.4kg and 326.6kg, respectively. Young bulls were on average 2% heavier year-on-year at 356.7kg.


The June slaughter figures brought total UK prime cattle slaughter for the first six months of the year to 995,700 head, down 3% on the same period a year ago.


Lower cattle slaughter, combined with relatively stable prime cattle carcass weights, resulted in total UK beef production for the first half of 2021 of 447,100 tonnes, down 3% from the same period a year ago.