‘Feedlot status’ beef ineligible for export to China

‘Feedlot status’ beef will be ineligible to supply for export to China, under the terms and conditions of Chinese market access, according to senior manager of the meat and livestock team in Bord Bia, Joe Burke.

Speaking at a Teagasc beef and sheep seminar, titled ‘Practical Advice for a Challenging Time’, at the Tullamore Court Hotel, Co. Offaly, last night, Wednesday, November 13, Burke outlined why such feedlots (see description below) will not be eligible.

“The couple of terms and conditions around China is it is a market for beef from under 30 months cattle and from TB-free herds.

In other words, any of the feedlots for example that are a ‘slaughter-only status’, they’re not eligible to supply the Chinese market.

Continuing, the manager highlighted: “Really farmers should very much see the benefit of the market access.”

Also Read: What’s the difference between feedlot and regular herds?

Continuing, he noted that the market will give meat factories more bargaining power when dealing with their traditional customers, supermarkets and manufacturing customers, with an alternative option.

“It gives you very much a strong bargaining chip,” he added.

Similarly too, our traditional farmers who have animals for selling, particularly if their animals are under 30-months of age, will see this as being a very significant development, even in the coming weeks.

“It should be one which should kick in and result in a higher demand for suitable animals,” Burke said.

Chinese market

In terms of when the Chinese market is expected to grow, the Bord Bia manager said: “We’d be strongly confident about even the potential there for 2020 for volumes to get up, certainly into the big five-figure sums of upwards of 15 or 20,000t or more, as a result of just the demand out there and our capacity to supply.

“It’s not high-value cuts, it’s generally fourth-quarter cuts. It’s going to be products like flank, brisket, chuck, blade – those sorts of products which in the European market are either used for mince or for burgers.

But, this gives us an option to be able to say to other European customers ‘look, we’ve another customer with another potential selling route that’s offering higher prices than you’re giving us’.

Burke made comparisons with the pigmeat sector and its subsequent growth, noting that historically, the Chinese market would have just sought cheaper cuts.

“Now it’s virtually all of the cuts, except maybe the tender loin, and maybe one or two other cuts that are worth more still in Europe than they are in China,” he added.

Feedlot definition

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, a feedlot herd is defined in the description below.

Under the TB programme, a feedlot herd is a restricted herd that comprises a ‘non-breeding’ unit which disposes of all cattle direct for slaughter and fulfills at least one of the following three criteria:
  • The cattle are permanently housed (never on pasture);
  • There are no contiguous holdings/lands with cattle (in other words, they must not have any neighbour contacts – either through cattle being confined exclusively in yards/buildings or, if intending to graze cattle, the land must be secured so there can be no contact with other cattle;
  • The boundaries are walled, double fenced or equivalent so as to prevent any direct contact with cattle on contiguous lands/premises/holdings.

Furthermore, the department outlined that there must be no evidence of the within-herd spread of TB.