EU beef production to further increase in 2016

In 2016, gross EU beef production is expected to further increase by 2.4%, driven by higher slaughterings and very dynamic live exports, according to the European Commission’s latest outlook.

EU beef net production increased in the first four months of 2016 by 2% year-on-year, especially in new member states with growth there up 13%.  The increase in Eastern Europe comes mainly from cow and bull slaughterings.

In older Member States (EU-15), the consequences of the strong 2015 increase in cow herd, by almost 400,000 heads, is not expected to lead to significantly higher slaughterings before the end of 2016, (over the first four months of this year slaughterings increased by only 0.9%).

In the EU-15, the increase in cow (+4%) and heifer (+1.5%) slaughterings is tempered by a decrease in bull slaughterings of almost 2%.

Cow slaughterings in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Slovakia and Cyprus were declining in 2015 compared to 2014 but reversed in the first four months of 2016.

On the other hand, January-April cow slaughterings in Ireland remained below last year, despite the increase in April slaughterings compared to last year.

Culling of dairy cows

According to the Commission, restructuring of milk production systems and culling of surplus cows and heifers seem to be starting to spread as well to countries where a recapitalisation of the dairy herd was observed previously due to the continued low milk prices.

This will result in extra slaughterings in many Member States during the second half of 2016.

Moreover, the Commission says some additional beef can be expected on the market due to the culling of suckler cows in France. Overall, an increase of 2.2% in EU beef production is foreseen in 2016, followed by a further slight increase in 2017.