Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia
The results from the latest European beef forecast working group showed declining herds across the majority of the key European producing states this year is putting some downward pressure on net production of beef. This situation seems set to continue in 2010.
In terms of net production, France still remains the largest producer within the EU-27, at around 1.51 million tonnes. Looking ahead to 2010, an anticipated rise of 6% in live exports is expected to reduce French beef production by almost 3% to 1.47 million tonnes. This is expected to boost French import levels by around 2% to just over 400,000 tonnes.
German beef production seems set to fall by 7% in 2009, reflecting lower domestic supplies especially young bull availability and increased live exports as bluetongue restrictions have eased. For 2010 German net production of beef is forecast to fall marginally with a similar decline expected in consumption levels.
UK beef production has been stable in 2009, helped by higher than anticipated heifer disposals and increasing young bull supplies as the year progressed. Higher carcase weights and the fall away in live exports have helped to offset the decline in the UK cow herd, which in June 2009 was 3% lower than 2008. Little change is expected in 2010 with production forecast to reach just over 855,000 tonnes.
Interestingly in Poland this year, net production has risen by almost 9% to 410,000 tonnes with supplies increasing due to some liquidation taking place in the suckler cow herd, as producers took advantage of high cow prices during the latter half of 2008. However, a fall of 6% is anticipated for 2010.
Italian beef production is expected to be largely maintained over the next 12 months as increased live imports help to maintain output.