Increasing input costs and phasing out of government support is causing a further contraction of the EU cattle herd, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
Another factor is the increased efficiency mainly in the dairy sector. With the lower availability of cows, the calf crop is expected to decline during 2012 – 2013.
Due to the lower crop, exports of live animals, slaughter, beef production, and beef exports will all decrease.
Despite the dwindling domestic supply, beef imports are expected to stagnate at around 360,000 MT. Reasons are the lower supply in South America as well as the economic recession in Europe.
Imports of high quality beef from mainly the United States, however, have increased strongly since the introduction of a zero duty quota in 2009.
The dairy cow herd is forecast to increase in Ireland and Germany, while an increase in the beef cow herd is anticipated in several Central European Member States.
The forecast of a recovery of production and herd size in these countries is based on the anticipation of firm output prices, and increased efficiency and competitiveness of the sector.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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