Beef production in the EU is dropping
Beef production in the European Union has dropped in 2020 to 6.8 million tonnes of beef, 1.2% down from 2019. Cattle slaughter overall was slightly above previous year's levels until April, when production was affected by the COVID-19 disruption. Then there was a recovery in June, possibly when some foodservice reopened, and production fluctuated around year-earlier levels for the remainder of the year, said a report from the European Commission.
Year-on-year changes in production affected the largest producing nations differently. Germany, Italy and Spain experienced declines, with Italy being the largest real decline, dropping 48,000 tonnes (-6%). On the other hand, Ireland increased its beef production by 2% (14,000 tonnes), along with the Netherlands. France reported a growth of 0.2% in beef, while Poland followed the downward trend (-0.2%).
Despite a decline in production, exports have performed well, especially in the Asian markets but also in Canada and the US. The increase in exports of fresh and frozen beef was 1.3%, which stands for a total volume of 461,000 tonnes shipped last year. 50,000 tonnes were sent to the British market, a volume unchanged compared to 2019. Imports have fallen by 21% due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, with the UK and Brazil being the largest suppliers affected by the restrictions imposed in the EU single market.