The number of UK clean sheep slaughterings in March 2023 was up 21%, or 1240,000 head on the same time period as last year.

Mutton and lamb production was up 28,000t in March 2023, which is 15% higher than in March 2022, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra’s) latest statistics on livestock slaughter and meat production.

Defra runs a monthly survey of registered England and Wales slaughterhouses. Similar surveys are run in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The statistics, published yesterday (Thursday, April 13), cover cattle, sheep and pig slaughter and meat production.

UK prime cattle (steers, heifers and young bulls) slaughterings were also up in March 2023 by 1.2% on March 2022 at 178,000 head.

Young bulls was the only category to see a decline in kill numbers, with 12,000 head killed in March 2023 compared to 14,000 head in March 2022. Steers, heifers, cows and adult bulls, and calves also saw higher numbers killed this March.

However, UK clean pig slaughterings were down 15% on March 2022 at 899,000 head. 160,000 fewer clean pigs were slaughtered while 7,000 fewer sows and boars were slaughtered.

Pigmeat production at 83,000t was also down year-on-year, being 18% lower than in March 2022.