Beef and veal output fell by an average two per cent in major producing countries in 2009 - and this year could see greater decline, according to EBLEX.
The organisation for the beef and lamb industry in England has just produced the latest bi-annual International Meat Market Review (IMMR) which shows all major beef producing countries saw similar reductions in production levels, with the exception of Argentina.
The fall is attributed to producers reducing their breeding herds, resulting in high cow slaughterings while prime cattle slaughterings are in decline. This applies especially to the United States and the EU.
In Argentina, increased production in 2009 resulted from herd liquidation in response to Government policies to control beef prices and the drought of 2008 and 2009. This, in turn, will result in severe shortages of cattle available for slaughter in 2010 (down around 21 per cent) with low calving rates in 2008 and 2009 making the situation worse.
In Brazil there are signs that the downturn in beef production is coming to an end and a small recovery forecast in 2010, helped by better export demand with exports expected to rise for the first time since 2007. The decline in Australian beef production is the result of both poorer export demand, not helped by a sharp increase in the value of the Australian dollar, and difficult seasonal conditions in both 2009 and early 2010.
"The global economic downturn is continuing to result in weaker demand for beef, especially in developed economies, with the food service sector especially affected," said Joanne Knowles, red meat market intelligence manager for AHDB.
"Consumers are cutting down on their discretionary spending while household purchases are holding up somewhat better. They are trading down to cheaper cuts, so weakening the hindquarter market in particular, and also cheaper sources of protein. This fall in demand has reduced cattle prices but intensive producers have benefited from lower global cereal prices.
"World trade in beef has also fallen with demand from Russia and Mexico showing a decline.
"Looking ahead, we expect overall global demand for beef and veal to show a modest upturn in 2010, mainly down to growth on Asian markets."
The June 2010 issue of International Meat Market Review is produced by AHDB Market Intelligence, of which EBLEX and BPEX are the red meat sectors.
Also just published is the EBLEX/BPEX Pocketful of Meat Facts 2010, a handy guide containing a host of information relating to the red mean production sector in the UK and EU.
Copies of both publications are now available by contacting Dorian Harris on 024 7647 8850 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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