Reporting deadweight cattle prices: guidance for abattoirs

Slaughterhouses in Great Britain with a high throughput of cattle carcases must send pricing data to AHDB weekly.

Applies to England and Wales

Deadweight Price Reporting (DWPR) is the scheme where larger abattoirs must submit weekly bulk price data for bovine carcases (cattle, bison and buffalo). Deadweight price information collected is used to decide whether industry support is required.

Which abattoirs need to report

Abattoirs that slaughter more than 20,000 bovine animals aged 8 months or over each year (calculated on a rolling annual average basis) must report prices weekly to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Abattoirs also need to keep and provide details of any supplementary payments made after the initial data has been submitted. This information must be sent to Defra only.

Where and when to send information

You must email the weekly price information to by Monday evening of each week.

Supplementary payment information must be emailed to within 7 days from the end of the quarter the payment was made in. You do not have to submit this data to AHDB.

Which animals to include

Your weekly data to AHDB must relate to individual cattle slaughtered during the previous week (from Monday to Sunday).

Supplementary payment information must relate to individual cattle which have received an additional payment after the original data was submitted to AHDB. If the payment was made before the details relating to that carcase are submitted to AHDB, the extra payment will be included in the original data you supply to AHDB.

Only report the prices of animals that you purchase from suppliers on a deadweight basis and that have been classified against the Union scale.

Do not report:

  • prices for animals purchased from liveweight markets
  • prices for animals killed in your abattoir for a third party on a contract-kill basis
  • flat rate prices.

How to report on deadweight pricing

Weekly Information to be sent to AHDB

You must supply the following for each animal, in this order:

  • date of slaughter
  • dressing specification
  • carcase category
  • weight
  • conformation class
  • fat class
  • price
  • kill number.

Each of these pieces of data is represented by numbers and/or letters as described below. These number and letter codes form a long string for each animal.

Dressing specification

Data on dressing specifications lets AHDB adjust prices to be comparable.

When you report, choose the code that indicates which of the 3 permitted specifications you have used:

Specification Code
EC Reference 1
UK Specification 2
Standard Specification 3


Use the beef carcase classification categories, as shown in the table below.

Category Description
A Carcase of uncastrated male animal aged from 12 months to less than 24 months
B Carcase of uncastrated male animal aged from 24 months
C Carcase of castrated male animal aged from 12 months
D Carcase of female animal that has calved
E Carcase of other female animal aged from 12 months
Z Carcase of animal (male or female) aged from 8 months to less than 12 months


Report the actual weight of the carcase (sometimes called the ‘pay weight’) in kilograms - rounded to the nearest kilo, or to one decimal place.

If the weight on which a carcase is paid is restricted, report the actual weight of the carcase.

Conformation and fat classes

You should describe the conformation and fat classes for each category of carcase using the same codes as for the Beef Carcase Classification scheme.

Only report on carcases with the classifications in the table below.

Category Description
A U2, U3, R2, R3, O2 and O3
B R3
C U2, U3, U4, R3, R4, O3 and O4
D R3, R4, O2, O3, O4, P2 and P3
E U2, U3, R2, R3, R4, O2, O3 and O4
Z U2, U3, R2, R3, O2 and O3


Report the price that you pay the supplier for each animal on delivery to the abattoir:

  • in pence per kilo, rounded either to the nearest whole pence or to one decimal place
  • excluding VAT
  • including bonuses for elements such as rare or native breeds, GM-free, Farm Assurance and organic
  • before deductions for incidental costs such as procurement, transport, insurance, processing and slaughter, carcase classification charges per animal, meat inspection, lorry wash, AHDB levy or any other ‘below the line’ charges. (A ‘below the line’ deduction being a small and insignificant cost compared to the value of the carcase.)

If you restrict the weight on which a carcase is paid, then report the price per kilo as the total price paid, divided by the actual weight of the carcase.

If you report prices for carcases with kidney knob and channel fat (KKCF) included, make this clear. AHDB will adjust the prices in order to be able to compare all prices (on the basis that carcases exclude KKCF).

Kill number

The kill number can be any number of digits, but that number must stay the same for a particular centre. So if your abattoir uses 12-digit kill numbers, but for some reason 11-digit numbers are sometimes assigned, you must add a space or a zero to make sure that 12 numbers appear in the DWPR data string for each animal (do not use tabs).

Supplementary payment information to be sent to Defra

Abattoirs will be provided with a template to record the information needed. Each category and grade which falls under DWPR are included on the template. You need to provide the total number of carcases, total amount of bonus paid and total cold weight (Kg).

You should also send nil returns to Defra.

How to send the data

For detailed advice on the format needed for your weekly data, contact AHDB.

Information about supplementary payments must be emailed to


If your abattoir reports deadweight prices, your records will be inspected once a quarter. If your abattoir is in England or Wales, it will be inspected by the Livestock and Meat Inspectorate of RPA.

The checks will be carried out during routine unannounced inspections of bovine abattoirs.

What the inspector will do

The inspector will have the price information you supplied to AHDB for a selected week. They will check this information against your abattoir records.

The inspector will reconcile:

  • the information on kill sheets against producer invoices
  • the information on printouts from AHDB of prices you have submitted against payment records.

If the inspector finds problems, RPA may take enforcement action against you for not complying with DWPR requirements.

What you must do

As an abattoir operator you must give inspecting officers all reasonable assistance and information they need to carry out the inspection. This includes making records available for inspection.

You must not deny entry to your premises for an inspection or obstruct an inspector (including by giving false information). If you do, you are committing an offence, which could lead directly to prosecution, and a possible fine or imprisonment.

Enforcement and penalties if you do not comply

If a licensed abattoir that you operate does not comply with the relevant regulations, you may be committing an offence which could lead directly to prosecution, and a possible fine or imprisonment.

If your abattoir is in England or Wales, RPA can take a range of actions. The RPA Fixed Penalty Guidance provides further information on what RPA does when abattoirs breach the rules.

Types of enforcement action

RPA can take 3 levels of action:

  • enforcement notices, which are issued where the inspector finds the problem has not been resolved when they visit again. The notice states the offence the inspector believes you are committing and specifies the measures you must take within a specific time. It also informs you of your right to appeal
  • penalty notices, issued if you do not comply with an enforcement notice. A penalty notice imposes a fine and gives you 28 days to pay
  • criminal prosecution, if you do not pay the fine imposed in the penalty notice; you can also be prosecuted if you fail to comply with an enforcement notice.

If a high proportion of the carcases inspected are involved, or if you have committed an offence before, RPA can issue an enforcement notice without first giving a warning letter. The same goes for serious offences relating to a failure to notify, records and marks.

If you have committed 2 or more offences before, RPA can issue a penalty notice or initiate a prosecution straight away. If an inspector finds more than one problem on a visit, RPA will consider these separately for enforcement purposes. Thus you may receive more than one notice after an inspection.

If you feel there was evidence that the inspector did not see during the inspection that may affect any enforcement please email or write to the Meat Technical Schemes team at RPA as soon as possible, with the evidence.


If RPA prosecutes you, and you are convicted of an offence relating to marking or labelling carcases in a way that is likely to mislead, there is no limit to the fine the court can give you.

How to appeal

The only type of action you can appeal against is an enforcement notice. To do this make an appeal to a magistrates court, which can make an order revoking the notice.

You have 1 month from the date of the enforcement notice to make an appeal to the magistrates court.

Read old guidance on the National Archives website

Relevant regulations

The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1164

The Carcase Classification and Price Reporting (Wales) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 2018 No. 1215(W0248).

These implement the following EU regulations:

Regulation EUR 2013/1308

Regulation EUR 2017/1182 and EUR 2017/1184


RPA’s Meat Technical Schemes (MTS) team administers DWPR for England and Wales.

Meat Technical Schemes

Rural Payments Agency
Eden Bridge House
Lowther Street


Telephone 03300 416508

Published 31 March 2014
Last updated 28 June 2023 + show all updates
  1. Contact updated from RPA to Defra.

  2. Updated bullet points under heading 'Price'

  3. Regulation 1308/2013 changed to EUR 2013/1308 and Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/1182 and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1184 changed to Regulation EUR 2017/1182 and EUR 2017/1184

  4. Added link to penalty notice

  5. Text reviewed and updated

  6. Additional guidance added following the introduction of new procedure for reporting supplementary payment information to RPA

  7. Update to 'How to report on deadweight pricing' section for clarity.

  8. First published.