Audio: USMEF Economist Reports from Brazil
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USMEF Economist Erin Borror is in Brazil this week conducting research on the current state of Brazilian beef and pork production and the export outlook for both products. Borror explains that Brazil has been rebuilding its cattle herd over the past several years, which is now reflected in its large beef production. She notes that production growth could slow to some degree next year, however, due to a recent increase in heifer and cow slaughter.
On the pork side, Brazil is one of very few major suppliers still eligible for Russia, following Russia’s Aug. 7 import ban on most U.S. and Canadian pork products. The Russian market has also been closed to pork from the European Union since Jan. 30, due to an impasse related to African swine fever. Hong Kong is also a major destination for Brazil’s pork exports.
Technical Services Manager Cheyenne Dixon and South America Representative Jessica Julca are also on the USMEF research team. They will also be examining Paraguay’s beef industry later in the week.
Joe Schuele: In this U.S. Meat Export Federation Report, we hear from USMEF Economist Erin Borror, who is part a team conducting research on the current state of Brazil’s beef and pork production.
Erin Borror: We are down here in Brazil and will be going to Paraguay briefly next week. Of course Brazil is the largest beef exporter in the world; however, unlike the U.S. and Australia, Brazil has been rebuilding and actually seeing the fruits of rebuilding. Their herd bottomed around 2006-2007 and they’ve built back up and they have been producing more beef consistently for the past few years. Prices rebounded earlier this year and hit a record around May, and that incentivized producers to bring females to market, so they did see an increase in heifer and cow slaughter earlier in the year.
When you talk to most people they say “It’s Brazil, we have 200 million head of cattle, we have plenty of cattle,” but when you dig a little deeper we still think of Brazil as growing, but perhaps the expansion has stalled a bit and we might not see very significant growth of Brazilian beef production next year. Joe Schuele: Borror is also examining Brazil’s Pork production; but, the meetings for that research are coming up later in the week.
Erin Borror: On the pork side, unfortunately, we have had huge challenges getting in to see anyone on the plant side or the farm side. We know that bio-security is a big issue, especially with PEDV, but it is still frustrating that we haven’t had access, we have had plenty of access on the beef side. But we are going to Santa Catarina, a big production state, and we will be meeting with EMBRAPA (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) which is a government association that does a lot of research. As far as domestic consumption, pork is relatively small. Of course this year Brazil has been fairly heavily focused on Russia – they are one of their only suppliers now – but they are also heavily reliant on Hong Kong. We will be meeting with their pork export association toward the end of the week. And also some of the major companies will be able to sit down with their export personnel in Sao Paulo as well.
Joe Schuele: For more on this and other trade issues please visit USMEF.org. For the U.S. Meat Export Federation, I’m Joe Schuele.