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Imported Meat Total 30.1% Above Last Year


Livestock Weekly

Jan 31, 2013


            DES MOINES, Iowa ó(USDA)ó Imported meat for the week ending January 19 totaled 31,562 metric tons. This compares to 21,128 metric tons for the same period last year and is a 30.1 percent increase. The following figures represent metric tons.


            Totals included the following: Argentina 302, Australia 6785, Brazil 1004, Canada 12,500, Chile 584, Costa Rica 231, Denmark 648, Germany 15, Honduras 79, Ireland 93, Israel one, Italy 137, Mexico 2490, Netherlands 63, New Zealand 5437, Nicaragua 635, Northern Ireland 50, Poland 174, Spain 13, United Kingdom 46, and Uruguay 276.


            Fresh beef totaled 17,443 with Australia 5501, Canada 3558, Costa Rica 231, Honduras 79, Mexico 2286, New Zealand 4933, Nicaragua 635, and Uruguay 219. Processed beef totaled 19,323, including Argentina 302, Australia 5535, Brazil 987, Canada 3978, Costa Rica 231, Honduras 79, Mexico 2286, New Zealand 5013, Nicaragua 635, and Uruguay 276.


            Fresh pork totaled 7017 with Canada 6007, Denmark 115, Finland 547, Ireland 93, Mexico 105, Netherlands 55, Northern Ireland 50, and United Kingdom 46. Processed pork totaled 8133, including Canada 6634, Chile 115, Denmark 648, Germany 15, Ireland 93, Italy 137, Mexico 129, Netherlands 63, Nor thern Ireland 50, Poland 174, Spain 13, and United Kingdom 46.





Namibia: Americans Inspect Nam Beef


By Deon Schlechter -

31 January 2013


A delegation from the United States of America (USA) is in the country to inspect abattoirs and meat processing plants in the country.


The US inspection is the first this year and would be followed by the EU aud it, which is scheduled for between February 19 and March 1. Health inspectors from China are also, expected in the country in early March. Senior Manager for Quality Assurance at Meatco, Rosa Katjivena, confirmed the visit of the Americans, as well as the second visit of a Chinese delegation early in March this year.


Namibia exports 80 percent of its prime red meat to European countries, especially the Nordic countries, while South Africa is the prime destination for Namibia's cattle on the hoof.


Yesterday afternoon the inspection team from the US visited Meatco's abattoir in Windhoek, after visiting various other slaughtering facilities, in addition to holding talks with other independent players in the local meat industry.


Namibia signed an agreement on animal health and quarantine standards on meat production with China in 2011, and the visit has been one of the elements yet to be fulfilled under the agreement.


Meanwhile, Katjivena says it is "too early to speak about details," regarding the Namibian agreement with China but stressed that China is interested in procuring Namibian meat in all the various categories, from prime cuts to cheaper meat cutlets and processed meat...





Recovering Japan Market Will Take Time

The new rules go into effect Feb. 1, but it will take time (and lower prices) to slowly bring U.S. beef back to Japan.


By Len Steiner and Steve Meyer, CME Group Daily Livestock Report     

via BEEF Magazine - Jan. 29, 2013


The office of the U.S. Trade Representative officially confirmed on Jan. 28 that Japan will relax its current rules on U.S. beef and raise the age of cattle eligible for export to Japan from 20 months or younger to under 30 months. The change makes the rules governing Japan exports consistent with those of other major Asian markets and will significantly increase the supply of product that could potentially be exported to this market.


Plants that would like to ship beef to Japan now have to implement a USDA under 30 months of age verification Quality Assessment Plan (QSA LT-30). Since many plants already have implemented such programs in order to ship to South Korea, Taiwan and other markets, it appears the Japan certification process should be fairly swift.


As with the current QSA under 30 programs for other markets, cattle will be certified as meeting the age requirement via birth certificates or dentition. In the past, cattle were certified either through birth certificate or by evaluating the carcass maturity, with A40 or lower carcass maturity eligible to be exported. The new rules go into effect Feb. 1.


Prior to the discovery of a BSE-infected animal in the U.S. in December 2003, Japan was the biggest market for US beef, with shipments of fresh/frozen/processed beef and veal in 2003 at 298,035 mt (product weight, USDA), representing 35% of total U.S. beef exports. In 2012, U.S. beef exports to Japan likely were around 139,000 MT, about half of what they were prior to BSE levels.


But drawing a direct line between 2003 and 2013 and expecting volumes to come back to pre-BSE levels is a mistake. Itís more appropriate, in our view, to assess how much of the quantity already available to go to Japan was going there before speculation on how much more we could ship in 2013. In recent years, U.S. packers have been quite adept at increasing the supply of cattle that were eligible to be exported to Japan (20 months and under).


 As we noted earlier, there are two ways in which cattle are certified as being under 20 months for purposes of going to Japan:



According to USDA data, the number of such cattle verified through birth certificates has actually declined in the last two years. On the other hand, the number of cattle with A40 or lower maturity has increased from under 1 million head in 2009 to almost 3.5 million head in 2012.


The supply of cattle eligible to go to Japan in 2012 was about 4.463 million head, about 17.5% of fed cattle slaughter. Japan didnít buy in 2012 all the beef that it could have bought. Even as the supply of cattle eligible expanded greatly in 2012, shipments to Japan were basically flat.


 For some items (short plates for instance), there is some pent-up demand and Japanese buyers will likely increase those purchases. But to do so they will have to pay more to take them from whoever is buying them today (other Asian markets, some U.S. buyers). Japan could have bought a lot more steak and round cuts, even chucks, in 2012 but they didnít. Price remains a significant issue for the Japanese buyer, as beef prices, both from U.S., Australia and domestic market, have increased sharply.


It will take time (and lower prices) to slowly bring U.S. beef back to Japan. Shipments in 2013 will increase but less than most expect (see chart). Australia remains a very competitive supplier to Japan, especially as cattle prices in the U.S. and Australia are moving in opposite directions. Other important factors include the cross-currency exchange rates (USD/AUD/YEN); the disposable income growth in Japan, which has been weak; and zero/negative population growth.


article, plus charts, links



U.S. dwindling cattle herd problematic amid Japan lifting beef ban


MENAFN - - 1/30/2013


(Menafn - Greeley Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --The long-term effects of Japan lifting its limited ban on U.S. beef is welcome news, but it will put increasing pressure on beef prices.


In the next couple of years, that means higher costs at the grocery store while the U.S. continues to struggle with dwindling herds amid drought and high feed costs, experts say.


"You have supplies contracting and demand improving," said Stephen Koontz, associate professor of agricultural and resource economics at Colorado State University. "Both of those things will pull prices up."


Japan banned U.S. beef outright in 2003, when bovine spongiform encephalopathy, otherwise known as mad cow disease, was found in a cow in Washington state. Three years later, Japan eased those restrictions, allowing imports from U.S. cattle no older than 20 months of age.


Japan on Monday opted to lift that final ban, and it will take effect on Friday.


That's a welcome development for JBS, which operates a beefpacking plant in Greeley, but also produces beef throughout the world. The benefit of the Japanese lifting the ban is that U.S. packers will no longer have to separate cattle based on their age, and they will not have to hunt so much for cattle of the right age.


"Anything you can do to reduce complexities helps efficiencies," said Cameron Bruett, spokesman for JBS USA, headquartered in Greeley. "Japan is a great market. So ideally, that will provide more eligible cattle for that market. But we're still in a tough cattle supply situation."


He warned that the announcement is no game-changer. The U.S.. herd, by many reports, is still at its lowest level in 60 years.


"Anything you can do to have a rational international marketplace where there aren't barriers to trade, where there's predictably, that's a wonderful thing," Bruett said. "The challenge as an industry is building the cattle herd up."


Growing that herd will take a couple of years, Koontz said, as many of the females in the cattle pool have been put into the supply. Packers will have to pull them out to increase the herd, which takes time and further reduces the herd.


"The overriding thing that's gone on in the beef market is a progressively tighter and tighter supply," Koontz said. "We've liquidated more cows than we would have without the dry weather. And we've had the dry weather now for two years. ... That impacts the herd."


But still, without rain, there's not a lot of forage for the animals upon which to feed -- the crux of the problem.


"(Moisture) is the one and only thing that will solve that," Koontz said. "It's going to be a very tough three years to be a feedlot or a packer."


After two years of dry weather and dwindling herds, companies already are making tough decisions. Cargill, which operates a plant in Fort Morgan, recently opted to shut down its Plainview, Texas, plant, beginning Friday. That means roughly 2,000 employees out of work in three days. JBS also has a Texas plant, 140 miles north of Plainview, in Cactus.


The impact to JBS likely won't be felt as much as other packers because the company has other proteins, such as chicken and pork, to make up when other segments take dips. But beef also is a huge portion of JBS's business, Koontz said. The conversation about shuttering plants is one that all packers are having, he said.


Bruett said JBS isn't going to make any production decisions based on the announcement, and will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to increasing its production. Even with the low cattle herds at present, JBS has no plans to close any plants, either, Bruett said.


U.S. beef is a taste that the Japanese prefer, Koontz said, given that it comes from corn-fed cattle, rather than grass-fed, as in other parts of the world. That alone will increase Japanese demand, which will pull from the supply that was supplying domestic tastes...