According to a new report called the Short-term Outlook for EU Arable Crops, Dairy and Meat Markets in 2015 to 2016, the beef, pig, sheep, goat and poultry sectors are all expected to increase.
The report revealed that in 2014, meat export volumes increased by 29% or 46,000 tonnes (t). Despite the Russian import ban, EU beef was directed to new markets with increased exports to Hong Kong, Western Balkans and the Philippines.
European beef production in the first quarter of 2015 showed an increase of 4.8% year-on-year. The report said this was partly related to the continuing culling of dairy cows in Poland, Italy and Estonia.
Beef production was likely to rise overall in 2015, said the report, boosted by cowherd developments and export opportunities. It predicted that, in 2015, total EU beef production could further increase by 1.4%, as EU production capacity has risen and the impact of longer production cycles kicks in.
Pig meat production is expected to increase further in 2015, driven by low feed prices and a higher numbers of breeding sows. Increased production, lower meat prices, a weaker euro and a strong demand from Asia provided an opportunity for pig exports, the report claimed.
Despite depressed prices at the beginning of the year, slaughters were up 5.6% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.
All main producing member states contributed to this, with the biggest growths recorded in Spain (+11.7%) and in Poland (+6.6%).
During the first four months of 2015, EU pig meat exports grew by around 4% because of increased shipments towards the Philippines, China, the US and Singapore.
Similar to the pig sector poultry looks set to be boosted by low feed prices, claimed the report.
In January to March 2015, net production increased by 4% compared to the same period of 2014, of which Poland was the biggest contributor (+16%), followed by Spain (+8%), France (+4%) and Germany (+2%).
EU poultry meat exports in the first four months of 2015 have already expanded by more than 5%, boosted by destinations such as the Philippines, Benin and Ghana.
Throughout the year, the report predicted the increase in poultry meat production could reach around 2% or 240,000t higher than 2014.
The report said that the avian flu outbreak in the US, together with a stronger US dollar, could also give the EU the opportunity to supply more poultry meat to certain Asian and African markets, such as Hong Kong or Angola.
Sheep and goats
In 2014 EU production of sheep and goats increased by 2.5%. Although Spain and Italy saw significant drops in production, increases from the UK and Romania offset this.
The December 2014 livestock survey revealed that the sheep flock in the EU increased by 1.1% compared to 2013, representing almost one million head extra.
The increase in herd sizes in the UK and Romania, combined with the recovery of the Italian market from bluetongue, would see production rise by 2% in 2015, predicted the report.