European cattle population continued to fall ...

European cattle population continued to fall slowly

LUXEMBOURG EU cattle populations in December 2005 and production forecasts for 2006

The December 2005 cattle surveys in the EU-25 show that the cattle population continued to fall slowly. According to European statistical office “Eurostat” total numbers of cattle were lower (–0.7%) than in December 2004. The price of cattle remains relatively high.

According to the December livestock survey, the total number of cattle in the European Union, EU-25, is estimated to be 85.8 million, which represents a small decline (-0.7%) relative to the previous year, and continues the decline seen over several years. This downward trend in numbers was associated with an upward trend in price. Indeed, the deflated price index for cattle in the month of December 2005 was higher (+6.3%) than the same month of 2004.

Across the Member States of the EU, changes in cattle numbers ranged from –4.5% in Cyprus to +10.5% in Greece. France and Germany, the two largest cattle producers, each recorded small decreases, -0.1% and -0.9% respectively.

Gross indigenous production (GIP), slaughtering plus exports in live animals minus imports in live animals, decreased from 30.2 million head in 2004 to 28.5 million in 2005 (EU-25). However, production is forecast to rise to 29.1 million in 2006. This recovery in GIP (+2.0% for EU-25) is expected in most

Member States, especially Ireland (+4.3%), Malta (+8.8%), the United Kingdom (+10.8%) and Spain (+11.4%). In contrast, notable decreases are expected in Austria (-2.5%), Denmark (-2.7%), Slovakia (-5.1%) and the Czech Republic (-8.5%). Changes foreseen in France and Germany are +0.3% and -0.9% respectively.

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