Weekly beef and dairy digest: US beef exports to EU feel pandemic pain

USDA revises export figures for 2021 and the EU increases its US beef import quota.
calendar icon 15 January 2021
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Jim Wyckoff Commentary -  TheCropSite

USDA weekly US beef exports totals

US beef net sales of 16,800 metric tonnes (MT) were reported for 2021, with increases were primarily for South Korea (4,900 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), Japan (4,100 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), China (2,800 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), Mexico (1,300 MT, including decreases of 100 MT), and Taiwan (800 MT, including decreases of 100 MT). Exports of 14,200 MT were primarily to Japan (4,200 MT), South Korea (4,000 MT), China (1,600 MT), Mexico (1,400 MT), and Taiwan (900 MT).

USDA makes adjustments to its US beef balance sheet

USDA in its monthly Supply & Demand Report Tuesday 12 January trimmed its 2021 beef production forecast by 70 million lbs and added 10 million bu to its export outlook, which helped to raise its average steer price projection 50 cents from December to $115.50 per cwt, up nearly $7 from the average cash price in 2020.

COVID-19 Hampers 2020 US High Quality Beef Quota Exports to the EU

The first full year of the newly negotiated US specific High Quality Beef (HQB) quota with the European Union ended with US beef exports reaching 12,806 MT. With a total of 18,500 MT reserved for US beef for 2020, this leaves 5,694 MT of quota unused in 2020.


This is the result of the high focus of U.S. beef sales to the European restaurant sector, which was mostly shut down in both the spring first wave and the autumn second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because the HQB quota year stretches from 1 July through 30 June, 2,470.5 MT of the unused quota will be carried over to the next quarter of the US specific quota. Under the new Agreement, the US specific HQB quota for 2021 increased to 23,000 MT.

USDA expects meat consumption to rebound in 2021

Global beef production for 2021 is fractionally lower at 61.2 million tonnes primarily due to declines in China and the United States. China is revised down 3 percent to 6.7 million tons on lower than expected production in the past year.

Global beef exports for 2021 are unchanged at 10.8 million tons. Asia demand remains robust and the supply forecast for most major exporters is unchanged.

USDA weekly dairy report

Advertised prices for US dairy products at major retail supermarket outlets ending during the period of 8 January 2021 to 14 January 2021. The first week of the year provided an expected increase in retail dairy advertisements after the holiday weeks. Total conventional ad numbers increased 29 percent, while organic dairy advertisements jumped 115 percent in total. Conventional 8 ounce shred cheese was the most advertised dairy item this week, while half gallon milk was the most advertised organic dairy item.

Cheese advertisements increased 27 percent on the conventional aisle, while the total number of organic cheese ads remained steady. The weighted average advertised price for 8 ounce shred cheese was $2.24, unchanged from last week. The weighted average price for conventional butter in 1 pound containers was $2.77, compared to $4.99 for organic butter, an organic premium of $2.22.

Conventional bottled milk ad numbers decreased 52 percent, while organic milk ad totals increased 70 percent week over week. The weighted average advertised price for conventional half gallon milk was $1.99, compared to $4.03 for organic half gallons, an organic premium of $2.04. Yogurt advertisements increased for both conventional and organic items, 62 percent and 135 percent, respectively. The weighted average advertised price for conventional yogurt in 4 to 6 ounce containers was $.49, compared to $1.50 for organic 4 to 6 ounce yogurt, an organic premium of $1.01.

Read Jim Wyckoff's latest updates on global bird flu cases on The Poultry Site and read his analysis of the pork industry on The Pig Site

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