Brussels predicts halt to growth of EU poultry sector

By Keith Nuthall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Poultry meat European union Livestock Poultry

Brussels predicts halt to growth of EU poultry sector
A European Commission food market data report has predicted the long-running growth on European Union (EU) poultry meat production will finally end next year (2014), registering an anticipated dip of 0.7%.

Brussels noted that higher feed prices have forced up poultry meat prices, to reach €196/100 kg in January 2013, up 9% against a five-year average. And, with an “expected recovery in pig and beef meat production putting pressure on poultry meat”​, it said “the latter’s production [is] expected to retreat…”

EU poultry meat exports would also fall next year, declining by 0.6%, said the report, which added that imports would rise 0.4%.

The development is not all bad news though, argued the Commission report: “It could reflect once again the capacity of poultry production to adjust more rapidly to changes in the meat supply and demand.”

The switch follows a series of strong years for the EU poultry industry, with production increasing 4.5% in 2010 and by around 2% for each successive year up to 2013.

By contrast, 2014 should be a strong year for the EU beef, veal and pigmeat sectors, said the Commission. While beef and veal production is forecast to shrink slightly this year (-0.5%), the cattle herd in Poland increased by 0.4% in 2012, with very small falls in numbers elsewhere. “Thus, the declining trend in production could be reversed in 2014, when beef meat is likely to recover by 1.5%,”​ said the Commission report.

And after two consecutive years of declining pigmeat production, a 0.9% recovery is predicted for 2014 “due to productivity gain in the sow herd and expected lower feed costs”, said Brussels.

That said, EU beef exports are expected to weaken in 2014, because of a strengthening euro. And the Commission’s insistence on the implementation of EU pig welfare laws could reduce pigmeat production this year; currently around 80% of the sow herd complies with EU animal welfare requirements – and the Commission is threatening legal action if standards are not raised, driving up producer costs.

As for sheep and goat production, the Commission predicts a continuing fall: down 1.6% this year and 3.5% in 2014. This, plus a recovery in New Zealand production, would generate more sheep and goatmeat imports in 2013 – up 4%, said the report.

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