EU-28. Livestock and Products Semi-annual. Mar 2014 March 11, 2014
Based on official statistics, both cattle and swine slaughter is revised downwards from previously anticipated. However, the forecast of a higher meat production in 2014 remains intact. A higher availability of animals and an abundance of feed are the main reasons for this projection to stand. As a result of the Russian ban, China is likely to become the main export market for EU pork.
Cattle & Beef
Based on official Eurostat statistics, cattle slaughter is revised downwards from previously forecast. A factor which has been underestimated is the high milk price and the approaching abolishment of the milk quotas in 2015, which tempt farmers to hold to their cattle. The recovery of beef production in 2014 will together with the adjusted trade balance ease domestic supply and support an increase in domestic consumption.
Swine & Pork
Based on Eurostat statistics pig production and slaughter are adjusted downwards. However, the forecast of a recovery of the pig crop in 2014 remains intact. The abundance of feed will increase average slaughter weights and also cause a recovery of pork production this year. As a result of the Russian ban, China is likely to become the main export market for EU pork.
-In December 2013, Member States reportedly agreed to maintain support for EU beef production through reserving budgets for coupled payments for beef. In the same month, the EU also approved a regulation about country of origin labeling for pork, lamb, goat meat and poultry.
-On January 27, 2014, the European Commission (EC) notified the OIE and Chief Veterinary Officers of the detection of African Swine Fever (ASF) in wild boar in the South of Lithuania. Russia imposed a ban to the whole EU-28 on January 29. On February 17 and 18, two cases of ASF were also reported also in Poland.
Slaughter is adjusted downwards as farmers rebuild their herds.
Based on official Eurostat monthly slaughter figures, slaughter has been more significantly cut in 2013 than anticipated in the FAS Annual Livestock Report. The most significant cuts are reported in Italy, Germany, France, Poland, the UK and the Benelux countries. The reduced slaughter of calves can partly be explained by the continuing economic crisis in the main veal markets, in particular Italy, France and Spain. This affected also slaughter in the Netherlands, the biggest exporter of veal in the EU. Another factor, which has been underestimated, is the high milk price, which tempts farmers to hold to their heifers and older cattle. The abolishment of the milk quota in 2015 is a further push for farmers to enlarge their dairy herd. Based on the good margins in the dairy sector, the 2013 ending inventories of dairy cows are adjusted to a higher level, while the beef cow inventories are adjusted downwards. This year, slaughter is forecast to remain at a lower level than previously anticipated. As a result of the reduced slaughter, ending inventories in 2013 and 2014 are revised upwards from the forecast in the Livestock Annual.
Forecast of recovery of slaughter and beef production in 2014.
Despite the lower than anticipated slaughter, the forecast of increased slaughter and beef production in 2014 compared to last year remains intact. The rebound is supported by the increased availability of animals and a slight improvement of the economic situation in the EU. Increased slaughter is expected to take place across the EU and will be most pronounced in France, Spain and Ireland.
Adjusted trade balance will slightly ease domestic supply.
With the lower slaughter, beef production in 2013 and 2014 is revised to a lower level accordingly. As supply of beef on the world market is limited, the lower domestic EU beef production is directly affecting availability on the market and consumption. Though, imports have been underestimated in the Annual Livestock Report. During the last quarter, imports from Brazil accelerated supported by the depreciation of the Real against the Euro. The depreciation of the currencies in South America is expected to maintain the slightly higher import level through 2014. At the same is the appreciation of the Euro against the currencies in the export destinations anticipated to limit EU beef exports. In 2014, the adjusted trade balance will together with the recovery of beef production ease domestic supply and support an increase in consumption and stock-building.
Pig production and slaughter are adjusted downwards.
As a consequence of Eurostat updates, 2012 pig crop and ending inventories are adjusted to slightly lower levels. For the past year’s statistics, the main adjustment made is the lower than anticipated slaughter. During 2013, a reduction of slaughter was reported mainly in the Netherlands, Denmark, France and Spain. Both the Dutch and Danish slaughterers suffered from competition from slaughterers in Germany and Belgium. Based on the lower slaughter statistics, the 2013 and 2014 pig crop are adjusted to a lower level accordingly. The adjustment of the production in 2014 is also taking in to account the closure of the Russian market, assuming this will not exceed two months.
Forecast of recovery remains intact.
However, the forecast of a higher piglet production compared to 2013 remains intact. As projected, the upturn is expected to mainly take place in the Benelux countries, Denmark and the UK. An increase of fattening and slaughter is expected to take mainly place in Germany. Farmers in these countries have invested to be compliant with the EU animal welfare regulations, and are eager to take advantage of the shortfall in other Member States, in particular Poland, Hungary and France where production continues to decline steadily.
Abundance of feed will support a recovery of pork production.
Based on the corrected slaughter figures, pork production is adjusted to a lower level accordingly. During 2013, EU pork production fell by 0.6 percent, while the average slaughter weight slightly increased. Based on the abundance of feed, in particular corn, carcass weights at slaughter are expected to increases further this year, which will result in a recovery of pork production in 2014.
China is likely to become the main export market.
In 2013, exports passed expectations and reached a new record level of 2.23 MMT (carcass weight). Exports rose most significantly to China and Russia, with an additional volume of respectively 110,000 MT and 80,000 MT. Exports to Russia were offset by lower exports to the Ukraine and Belarus. With 500,000 MT of export sales, Russia was still the main market for EU pork, exceeding the volume of 400,000 MT exported to China. In 2014, however, China is likely to become the main market. The Russian ban on fresh and frozen pork is expected to last at least two months. Given the tight supply of pork on the world market, the oversupply is anticipated to be redirected to other destinations, mainly to China. While Spain, as the second European pork meat producer, is focusing on enhancing pork exports on new markets such as Mexico. Supported by lower prices, another part will be sold domestically in particular in Central Europe where local production is structurally on the decline. If the ban will last longer than two months, pork will accumulate in the cold stores and prices will decline. Following this scenario piglet production, slaughter and exports will be more negatively affected during 2014.
Member States Maintain Coupled Payments for Beef Production
With the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) agreed in December 2013, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain reportedly opt to maintain support for EU beef production through reserving budgets for coupled payments. Other Member States (MS) still have time to make this decision. Under the new CAP, MSs can opt dedicating up to ten percent of their Pillar I budget for such a coupled support.
EU Meat Origin Labeling Rules Approved
On December 13, 2013, the EU approved Regulation 1337/2013 regarding country of origin labeling for pork, lamb, goat meat and poultry. This regulation mandates labeling the place of rearing and slaughter, but not the place of birth, contrarily to the existing EU labeling for beef, which also includes place of birth.
Enforcement Procedure for Failure to Implement Pig Housing Legislation
In January 2014, the European Commission (EC) sent a reasoned opinion to Belgium, France, Cyprus and Greece for failing to implement Council Directive 2001/88 on the housing of pigs, which included a final implementing date of January 1, 2013. A reasoned opinion is the last step in the EU enforcement procedure before a formal complaint is filed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The four MSs have two more months to comply with this directive before being turned over to the ECJ.
African Swine Fever Detected in Lithuania and Poland
On January 27, 2014, the EC notified the OIE and Chief Veterinary Officers (CVO) of the detection of African Swine Fever (ASF) in wild boar in the South of Lithuania. Russia immediately stopped imports of pork and live swine from Lithuania. On January 29, Russia extended the ban to the whole EU-28 on the premise that the EU and Russia have no agreement on regionalization. High level representatives from EC Directorate General Health and Consumers (SANCO) have engaged talks with the Russian CVO about a pragmatic solution to the problem. On February 17 and 18, Poland confirmed that it had also found wild boars infected with ASF close to the border with Belarus