During August, total UK beef and veal production declined by 4% compared to July, according to the latest data published by Defra. Reported at 73,000 tonnes, this also represents a 2% decrease (1,800 tonnes) compared to this time last year.
The fall in production comes from a decrease in the pace of slaughterings. The total prime cattle kill in August decreased by 2% (3,800 head) on the month, to stand at 159,600 head; 4% lower than the same month last year.
This was driven by the 9% decline in young bull throughputs and 3% decline in steer slaughterings on the month. Meanwhile, cow slaughterings stood at 53,200 head; 8% lower than July, although 2% higher than August 2017.
Despite this monthly decline in slaughterings, the total year-to-date number of adult cattle processed was 7.5% (30,600 head) higher than year earlier levels.
An extra 30,200 cows (+7.6%) were slaughtered in the first 8 months of this year compared to 2017, which in terms of production equated to almost three quarters of the additional 11,800 tonnes of beef produced this year to date.
This illustrates the consistently high demand for manufacturing beef. Prime slaughter is now only 0.2% higher than 2017 in the year-to-date, although heifer slaughterings have been 3.7% higher.