‘Extra cows on the French market to have a big impact on EU beef trade’

Developments in the French beef market are likely to have major consequences for the EU beef market, according to the AHDB.

It says this market is important as France is the largest producer of cow beef in Europe and it looks set to have higher on-going production for the remainder of the year.

It says that the French market has been characterised by an increase in domestic supplies but disappointing demand, both on its domestic market and its main export markets.

France is the key driver of the EU cow beef market as it is the largest producer, importer and consumer of cow beef while domestically it accounts for over 50% of its total beef output, says the AHDB.

According to the AHDB, the numbers of cows slaughtered in France during the first nine months of 2015 increased by 60,000 which resulted in a subsequent 5% increase in cow beef production.

It says that the increased cow cull mainly reflects increasing culling of dairy cows due to the difficult milk market recently.

As a result, beef and veal imports in the first 9 months of the year were back by 6% on the year, with lower shipments from most of its major suppliers – the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Belgium and Italy.

However, despite the reduction in total imports, beef coming from Poland continues to increase with shipments up by over 20% in 2015.

Irish beef cow price has dropped

There has been little change in the quotes being offered for prime beef with the majority of procurement managers still quoting 390c/kg for base steers this week.

Furthermore, the trade for heifers has remained relatively stable with most processors securing heifers at 400c/kg base price.

However, the prices paid for cull cows has taken a further fall in some plants. There is a large amount of variation in the prices available with plants offering 300-330c/kg for R grade cull cows.

Prices quoted for O grade culls cows were mostly between a range of 290-320c/kg while the poorer quality P types are currently being quoted at 280-300/kg.

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