Nov. 9, 2015
World beef trade: Exports
by Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock marketing specialist
Among top global beef exporters, the 2016 market situation is quite variable according to the latest USDA World Markets and Trade report for livestock and poultry. India passed Brazil in 2014 to become the number one beef exporter in the world. India, which exports mostly meat from water buffalo (also known as carabeef) continues to see strong demand from southeast Asia and the halal processing of Indian beef makes the meat popular in Muslim countries. Indian beef exports, which have increased over three-fold in the last six years, are expected to increase again in 2016 keeping India as the top global beef exporting country.
Brazil is expected to regain the number two position in global beef exports in 2016 with an increase in exports from the 2015 level but still below the record level of 2014. Brazil overtook Australia in 2004 as the leading beef exporter, losing that position back to Australia for one year in 2011, before being overtaken by India in 2014 and also by Australia again in 2015. Brazil’s weak currency is expected to boost 2016 beef exports but the weak Brazilian economy will limit both beef production and domestic consumption, keeping Brazil as the number two beef exporter in 2016
Australia is projected to drop back into the number three spot for beef exports in 2016 after temporarily overtaking Brazil for the second largest beef export total in 2015. Drought-forced liquidation in Australia resulted in a jump in beef production and exports in 2014 and 2015. Whether or not drought continues, decreased herd inventories in Australia will result in decreased beef production and exports in 2016. At some point, improving forage conditions will prompt herd rebuilding in Australia and result in additional supply squeeze due to heifer retention. A significant portion of increased Australian beef exports in 2014 and 2015 have gone to the U.S. In 2015, Australian exports of beef to the U.S. have exceeded the tariff rate quota with exports at the end of the year subject to over-quota tariff. Australian beef exports to the U.S. are expected to moderate in 2016 from the sharply higher levels of 2014 and 2015.
The U.S. has been the fourth largest global beef exporter for several years and is expected to continue in that position in 2016. U.S. beef exports experienced double-digit decreases in 2015 as a result of reduced beef production, high domestic beef prices and a strong U.S. dollar combining to challenge beef exports. Exports are down sharply in 2015 to most major destinations, including Japan, Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong. The only exception is South Korea, still up for the year to date but down year over year in the latest monthly data. U.S. beef exports should stabilize and perhaps grow modestly in 2016 as domestic beef production begins to grow and beef prices moderate somewhat. However, dollar strength is likely to continue and will be a headwind for U.S. beef exports.
The next tier of global beef exporters are significantly smaller than the top four and include New Zealand in fifth place, followed by Paraguay, Uruguay, Canada, the European Union and Mexico, in that order if current 2016 projections hold. These five countries export roughly similar quantities and the rankings will likely change due to production and market conditions and trends in the countries. Exports from mature markets and long-time global market players such as Uruguay, Canada and the European Union are relatively stable while beef export newcomers Paraguay and Mexico are still growing rapidly and are likely to move up in the rankings over time. Argentina, currently out of the top ten global beef exporters, may see modest export growth in 2016 but will likely remain a minor player in global beef markets.
How much hay will a cow consume?
by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension animal scientist
Estimating forage usage by cows is an important part of the task of calculating winter feed needs. Hay or standing forage intake must be estimated in order to make the calculations. Forage quality will be a determining factor in the amount of forage consumed. Higher quality forages contain larger concentrations of important nutrients so animals consuming these forages should be more likely to meet their nutrient needs from the forages. Also, cows can consume a larger quantity of higher quality forages.
Higher quality forages are fermented more rapidly in the rumen, leaving a void that the animal can re-fill with additional forage. Consequently, forage intake increases. For example, low quality forages (below about 6 percent crude protein) will be consumed at about 1.5 percent of body weight (on a dry matter basis) per day.
Higher quality grass hays (above 8 percent crude protein) may be consumed at about 2.0 percent of body weight. Excellent forages, such as good alfalfa, silages, or green pasture may be consumed at the rate of 2.5 percent dry matter of body weight per day. The combination of increased nutrient content AND increased forage intake makes high quality forage very valuable to the animal and the producer. With these intake estimates, now producers can calculate the estimated amounts of hay that need to be available.
Using an example of 1200 pound pregnant spring-calving cows, lets assume that the grass hay quality is good and tested 8 percent crude protein. Cows will voluntarily consume 2.0 percent of body weight, or 24 pounds per day. The 24 pounds is based on 100 percent dry matter. Grass hays will often be 7 to 10 percent moisture. If we assume that the hay is 92 percent dry matter or 8 percent moisture, then the cows will consume about 26 pounds per day on an “as-fed basis.” Unfortunately, we also have to consider hay wastage when feeding big round bales. Hay wastage is difficult to estimate, but generally has been found to be from 6 to 20 percent (or more). For this example, lets assume 15 percent hay wastage. This means that approximately 30 pounds of grass hay must be hauled to the pasture for each cow each day that hay is expected to be the primary ingredient in the diet.
After calving and during early lactation, the cow may weigh 100 pounds less, but will be able to consume about 2.6 percent of her body weight (100 percent dry matter) in hay. This would translate into 36 pounds of “as-fed” hay per cow per day necessary to be hauled to the pasture. This again assumes 15 percent hay wastage. Accurate knowledge of average cow size in your herd as well as the average weight of your big round bales becomes necessary to predict hay needs and hay feeding strategies.
“Cow/calf Corner” is a weekly newsletter edited by Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension cattle specialist emeritus at Oklahoma State University with contributions from additional OSU Extension specialists.