Total Korean cattle slaughter during April increased 15% year-on-year, to 68,877 head, taking the national total for the first four months of 2012 to 314,854 head – 35 per cent above the corresponding period in 2011.
From January to April, Hanwoo (native Korean) cattle slaughter jumped 39 per cent year-on-year, to 268,251 head, with a 63 per cent year-on-year rise in female slaughter – the highest rate since the year 2000.
Previously, the Korean Government had announced an intention to reduce the cattle herd to around 2.6 million head by the end of 2013 to improve cattle prices, mainly through the provision of money to producers to cull less productive cows.
Assisted by rising slaughter rates, Korean cattle numbers in the first quarter of 2012 declined for the third consecutive quarter, to 3.3 million head - but remained two per cent above the corresponding quarter in 2011.
From January to April this year, Korean beef imports decreased 12 per cent on 2011.
During those months, imports of chilled and frozen Australian beef decreased 19 per cent and 10 per cent year-on-year, respectively.
The decline in consumer demand for beef has had the biggest impact on beef imports this year, accentuated by higher domestic production levels.
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