Welsh red meat production is now worth an estimated £690 million compared with £677 million the previous year, according to new industry figures.
New figures are included in Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) latest edition of its ‘Little Book of Meat Facts’, the annual digest of facts and trends for the lamb, beef and pork industries.
It shows that in 2019, total throughput of cattle and calves in Welsh abattoirs stood at 147,600 head, with total beef production totalling 42,900 tonnes - up from 40,000 tonnes the previous year.
Throughput of sheep and lambs stood at 3.3 million head, with total sheep meat production totalling 63,400 tonnes, compared with 60,800 in 2018.
France remained the largest destination for lamb exports, but with important growth in trade with Germany which is now in a clear second place.
Beef and lamb exports were mostly to Europe, although with significant trade to other markets in the Middle East, East Asia and Canada.
The Little Book also contains information on what kinds of meat British consumers are buying and from which retailers, as well as data on key industry measures such as carcase classification.
HCC Data Analyst Glesni Phillips said the statistics showed that, despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit and Covid-19, the red meat sector was 'hugely important' to the Welsh economy.
“It’s the backbone of rural communities, and also employs large numbers in auction markets, processing and the supply chain, as well as supporting brands which are symbols of our nation’s high-quality food across the world.”