Considerable price rises for beef cattle

by Editor
Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Grade E pig carcasses cost €160.86 per 100 kg in the EU on average in the first half of the year. This was €11.60, or 7.8%, up on the same period last year. The short supply also drove beef prices up to record historical levels.

Livestock farms in the EU obtained significantly higher sales prices for some of their products in the first half of 2012. As revealed in the latest EU Commission statistics, the distributors of beef carcasses are benefiting from the restricted supply situation on the national and international markets which has driven the prices paid to producers up to all-time highs. The average EU price for grade R3 young bulls in the first half of this year was €379.16 per 100 kg carcass weight, i.e. €35.29 per 100 kg, or more than 10%, up on the same period in 2011.

Prices for adult cows higher than ever

According to the Commission, prices for beef cattle rose even more sharply in the first six months: prices for grade O3 cattle carcasses increased by 18% to €304.54 per 100 kg carcass weight. At the beginning of July adult cows cost €319.20 per 100 kg on average, more than ever before. The prices for heifers also rose: the average price in the EU increased by 11.5% to EUR 383.23 per 100 kg carcass weight.

One of the main reasons for the rising price is thought to be the declining amounts of beef produced in the EU. According to figures released by the EU Commission, 5.2% less beef was produced in the first quarter of 2012 in Europe than in Q1 2011. The limited supplies also pushed up prices in Germany. Based on EU statistics, young bulls cost €386.35 per kg on average in the first half of 2012, representing a 9.4% increase on the previous year.

The price of beef cattle was 18% higher in both Germany and the EU than in the equivalent period in 2011.

Piglets and feed more expensive

The Brussels-based statisticians reported that pig farmers also commanded higher prices in the first half of 2012. An average of €160.86 per kilo carcass weight was paid for grade E meat, an €11.60 or 7.8% increase on the previous year. Besides the high feed costs, the pig farmers also had to pay more for piglets, the value of which had risen by almost 25% to just under €49 in comparison to the first half of 2011. According to the EU Commission, the prices for slaughter pigs rose in all 27 member states. The sharpest increases, exceeding 20%, were posted in Poland and Hungary.

For Germany, the EU statistics reveal an average price for grade E pigs of €165.06 per kg cold carcass weight in the first half of 2012. This represents a rise of €14.08 per 100 kg or 9.3% in comparison to the same period the previous year when the producer prices were temporarily impacted by the dioxin crisis. Pig prices in Denmark also saw similar rises.

According to the Brussels statisticians, the highest pig prices were recorded for the pig farmers in Malta, who were able to charge €188.33 per 100 kg on average for slaughter pigs in the first six months of 2012.

Moderate increases for lamb and poultry

The market increases for poultry were much more moderate by contrast. In the first six months of 2012 the slaughterhouses were selling to wholesalers at an average price €187.92 per 100 kg in the EU member states. This was just 2.4% up on the same period last year when prices were, however, already above-average. Prices then were 16.2% higher than they had been in the first half of 2010.

Lamb prices only increased by a limited amount in the first half of the year. At €517.40 per 100 kg, the average producer price for heavy lambs in the period from January to June 2012 was 4.9% up on the previous year. The prices for light lambs was €581.45 per 100 kg, representing an average increase of 2.0%.