The volume of beef produced in Europe isexpected to jump by 2% in 2016, a recent report published by the European Commission shows.
According to its Short Term Outlook, the majority of this increase will come from an increase in dairy throughput.
The number of surplus dairy cows and heifers heading for slaughter is expected to rise due to the low-level milk price in the EU, it says.
However, despite the predicted increase in beef production this year, it suggests that the volume of beef produced by Member States will stabilise in 2017.
Beef Herd Numbers
The European suckler herd showed signs of growth in 2015 on the year before, the latest EU livestock survey shows.
The European Commission’s December 2015 Livestock Survey indicates that the European suckler herd increased by 250,000 in 2015 on 2014 levels.
This is the second year in a row of increase, after years of decline.
The EU-N13 herd continued its steady growth, mainly in Poland but also in Hungary, the Baltic States and the Czech Republic.
But, the increase of the EU-15 suckler cow herd can be mainly attributed to two countries, Spain (+95,000 head) and France (+66,000 head).
However, the report says that the increase in French production is unclear, as the number of cows in France exceeds the Voluntary Coupled Support payments by about 350,000 head.
Data from the European Commission also estimates the EU beef production increased by 2.2% year-on-year, with the majority of this increase coming in the EU-N13 states (+12%).
The number of animals slaughtered increased by more than 10% in EU-N13, as did the average slaughter weight (+1-2%) of the different animal categories.
The European Commission also shows that heifer and cow throughput in EU-15 Member States increased by 3.3% and 5.3% in volume.
Young bull and steer throughput increased by 2.9% in 2015 on the year before, mainly due to an increase in beef herd in Spain, Hungary and Portugal over the last to years.
In 2015, the most pronounced increases of beef meat production were recorded in Poland (+60 000 tonnes or 14%), mainly coming from the milk herd and Spain (+58 000 tonnes or 10%), the European Commission says.