Global beef production expected to reach 62 million tonnes

Friday, 18 October 2019

By Felicity Rusk

Global beef and veal production* is expected to reach 61.86 million tonnes CWE in 2020, 1% (+0.6 million) more than in the previous year, according to the latest outlook from the USDA.

Production is China is expected to fall by 3% next year. This is not surprising, as production in 2019 is predicted to be the highest on record and so it is unlikely that the nation will be able to match this level next year. Domestic beef prices have been supported by increased demand as Chinese consumers turn away from pork to alternative protein sources. As such, this has incentivised producers to put more cattle forward for slaughter.

EU production is also expected to fall by 2% next year, to 7.78 million tonnes. This is likely a reflection of the longer term shrinking of the EU cow herd, though the picture does vary between member states.

Australian production is forecast to decline by 10%. This is unsurprising, as a prolonged period of drought and high culling rates pushed up production in 2019. However, the national herd has been reported at 26 million head, the smallest in 20 years. Furthermore, culling of female cattle was particularly high in the first half of this year. As such, this will likely limit the herd’s ability to recover in the near future, despite higher domestic prices.

Brazilian beef production is predicted to increase by 6% next year. Brazil has been able to capitalise on the increased demand on China, and so exports this year are expected to be the highest on record. Improved domestic demand and a more favourable exchange rate will also support production.

Production in the US is also expected to increase next year. The US is in a favourable position to expand its market share in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as Australia may struggle to maintain its share with smaller available exportable supplies. Additionally, improved domestic demand, heavier carcase weights and higher slaughter will likely support production.

*Please note, this figures do not include data from the following countries: Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Peru, Singapore, Turkey, and Venezuela. Figures may not align with USDA forecasts as these nations were included in 2018, but not in the 2019 and 2020 world production estimates.

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