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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 20 February 2013

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Wednesday 20th February 2013.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Horsemeat Scandal Doesn’t Dim Beef Outlook

The horsemeat scandal has swept across Europe bringing with it tighter food protocols, but despite fears of a consumer demand downturn, red meat remains popular and farmers face a positive outlook.

The European Commission has instructed all member states to engage in food testing programmes to locate mislabelled horsemeat.

The Finnish food authority, Evira, is preparing for a complete supply chain overhaul to assess product content. Likewise German, French and Norwegian governments are acting to catch any meat ‘cheating’ and create transparency for consumers.

Liechtenstein company, Hilconas, has been found supplying beef tortellini with horsemeat sold under the Gusto and Combino Penne Bolognese brands.

The substituting of horse and pig meat for beef in a variety of processed products including burgers, lasagnes and pies was first unearthed by Irish food inspection authorities. But while supermarkets have been recalling and destroying items, the high street butcher has seen a rise in trade.

Anecdotal evidence from EBLEX and a survey by Kantar has shown that UK consumers may be favouring prime cuts in favour of processed meat.

Farm assured beef from animals with guarantees of welfare and provenance represents a safe option which the government and farm groups have passionately promoted over recent weeks.

Confidence and trust in butchers’ processed products comes from the simplicity of the ingredients, said the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders (SFMT). Butchers are going to be stepping up production, expecting demand to stay high, added the SFMT.

Accompanying this confidence is news from the Outlook 2013 conference that global beef prices will remain high through 2013. Held last week in London, the conference message was that despite difficult weather conditions and input price pressure, 2013 could still be a good year.

Speaking at the conference was AHDB/EBLEX senior analyst, Debbie Butcher, who said that low calf demand through 2012 from high cereal prices had tightened supplies.

She added that UK cattle are being marketed heavier due to adverse weather interrupting finishing programmes and tight supplies have led to cull cow slaughtering rise to their highest figures post BSE.

Lower supplies in the UK and the US will be countered by higher productivity globally, Mrs Butcher concluded. The five countries producing two thirds of the world’s beef will show an aggregate output rise as Argentina (+6 per cent), Uruguay (+4 per cent), Australia (+ 3 per cent) and Brazil (+ 2 per cent) are producing more beef.

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TheBeefSite Book Focus

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This Weeks Articles and Analysis

Frost Seed to Renovate Pastures
Frost seeding is a great way to rejuvenate pasture and freeze/thaw action can be helped by cattle or sheep trampling in seed, but correct timing is vital, warns Rory Lewandowski, Extension Educator, Wayne County University.

A Welfare Discussion With Dr Clover Bench- What Drives Care?
Insights on the big questions in farm animal welfare such as behavioural biometrics, welfare implications on profitability and what fuels today's research are provided by Dr Clover Bench of Alberta who spoke with Meristem Land and Science.

Summary of the National Beef Quality Audit
Producer, packing and broader industry surveys are carried out every five years to assess the quality of US beef. The 2011 results are now available and ready for discussion.

Using Low-Quality Roughage in Late Gestation Cow Rations
The 2012 drought has forced researches to look into using alternatives to hay to make sure fodder rations go round.

A Reminder About What is Essential for a Thriving Livestock Sector
Preparedness is an easier game than predictions according to Meristem after talking with Dr John Kelly, University of Alberta, who had just presented a discussion of the challenges and opportunities of the livestock industry.

Market Reports

USDA Agricultural Projections to 2022 - February 2013
USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - February 2013
UK December Agricultural Price Index - 14 February 2013
AHDB Pig Market Weekly - 14 February 2013
Irish CSO: Agricultural Price Indices - December & Year 2012

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