EU beef production expected to increase by 3.3% in 2016

EU beef gross production is expected to further increase by 3.3% this year, according to the European Commission’s short term outlook for the rest of this year and 2017.

The increase is set to be driven by higher slaughterings of mostly dairy cows, as the dairy sector faces market difficulties, and good export demand.

EU beef net production increased in the first half of 2016 by 3.2% year-on-year, with an increase of 115,000t across the 28 Member States.

Poland registered a significant increase of 28,000t in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period last year, Commission figures show, mainly coming from cow and heifer slaughterings.

Meanwhile, all EU countries, except for for Italy and Sweden, reported increases in cow and heifer slaughterings in the second quarter of 2016.

The report also suggests that the EU milk production reduction scheme that came into play in September 2016 may also give farmers an additional incentive to cull cows in the short-run.

On the other hand, EU live beef exports continue to increase because of sustained demand in the Mediterranean region.

From January to July 2016, live exports increased by 34% compared to already high 2015 levels, figures show.

Pig slaughterings increase as sow herd numbers fall

With regards to pigmeat, slaughterings have increased in the EU by 3.2% in the second quarter of 2016 due to an export surge of pig meat to China.

Almost all EU Member States showed an increase in the production or a slowdown in the decline of pig production in the second quarter of 2016, the report shows.

According to the May-June 2016 livestock survey, the sow herd in the main pork producing countries fell by 420,000 head, adding to the 300,000 decline registered in December 2015.

However, the Commission expects EU pig production to slow down in the second half of the year because of the continuing decrease in sow herd and the lack of piglets’ availability.

In 2016, EU pigmeat production is expected to increase slightly at around 23.6m tonnes, which it attributes to export markets and a strong price recovery.

Increased demand for live animals drives sheep and goat meat production

EU gross sheep and goat meat production is expected to increase by 2.4% in 2016, mainly because of an increasing demand for live animals, according to the report.

During the first half of 2016 figures show that sheep and goat meat net production went up 1.6% despite an increase in the flock size registered in December 2015.

Slaughterings in Spain, France, Ireland and Romania went up significantly in the first half of 2016 by 5%, 6%, 7% and 15% respectively.

Meanwhile, EU live sheep exports are expected to grow by 35% this year, reaching the highest levels ever.

In the first half of 2016 live exports increased by 42%, with four export partners located around the Mediterranean representing almost 95% of trade.