UK sheepmeat production for the month of September fell by 11% when compared to the same period in 2021, the latest Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) figures show.

Total sheepmeat production for September came to 21,400t, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) noted from the Defra data.

In September, carcass weights witnessed little change, which meant the decline seen in production was down to a reduced kill over the course of the month, according to AHDB dairy and livestock analyst Freya Shuttleworth.

Furthermore, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II during this time had an impact on production as kill patterns were reduced over the additional bank holiday for her funeral.

bar chart showing monthly UK sheep meat production volumes
Source: AHDB

Clean sheep slaughter was back nearly 60,000 compared to August, with throughput for the month of September standing at 961,700.

September’s kill was also 99,400 lower than in the same month as last year, the AHDB said.

And, the adult sheep kill was back too, by 8% (9,000 head), and in total, tallied 102,000 head.

bar chart showing monthly UK clean sheep slaughter
Source: AHDB

With that said, UK sheepmeat production to date (January to September 2022) is up 4% on last year, despite the substantial hit in September.

The higher production to date is down to the increase in clean sheep and adult throughput, which are up 3% and 5% respectively.

Carcass weights have remained steady at 19.7kg/head the AHDB said that they are only 100g lighter than for the same time last year and are trending well above the five-year average.