Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jan 24, 2005
by WLJ

National beef packers report first quarter results
National Beef Packers reported a net loss of $4.4 million in the first quarter ended Nov. 27, as sales dipped very slightly, from $1.058 billion to $1.051 billion. In the first quarter a year ago, the company showed a net profit of $19 million. Chief Executive John Miller blamed the declining results mainly on the closure of the Canadian and Japanese borders. The Canadian border closing has deprived the market of about 1.5 million cattle, leading to short supply and higher prices for live cattle, even as Canada ships the equivalent of over a million cattle to the United States in the form of low—priced boxed beef. The company announced last week that it was cutting back on slaughtering until supplies and prices improve.

Australia gains more Japan share
Australian beef overtook Japanese domestic beef in terms of market share in 2004, making up 50 percent of total market volume. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry announced that 290,000 metric tons of Australian beef was supplied to Japanese consumers between January and September 2004. Japanese domestic beef made up 260,000 metric tons, or 44 percent of total beef in 2004. In 2003, 37 percent of the market share was accounted for by domestic beef, 32 percent by Australian beef and 30 percent by U.S. beef. In 2004, Australia sent record volumes of beef to Japan, with a total of 393,471 tons exported.

BSE prevention in North America meeting
NMA co-hosting a meeting with other industry groups on "BSE Prevention in North America: An Analysis of the Science and Risk" on January 27 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the current BSE situation in North America and to identify and analyze options that may be needed to further reduce BSE risk. The conference will result in a better understanding of the science and risk associated with BSE prevention measures implemented in North America. The conference is designed to provide information for United States and Canadian governmental agencies and other interested parties to make informed risk management decisions.

SD checkoff proposed
Even as the Supreme Court considers whether the mandatory national beef checkoff program is constitutional, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association members have indicated the desire to start a similar voluntary program. With the new program, producers would contribute 50 cents every time they sell a calf. Instead of going to promote generic beef, that money would be used for producer priorities. “It's a self–help program for U.S. producers to have exactly what they need which is legislation input and advocacy at the national level, as well as the research and then the grassroots push from the producers so it ties those things in together and gives U.S. producers a voice,” said association executive director Carrie Longwood.

Plumrose USA plans expansion
Officials at Plumrose USA are planning an expansion to add new meat slicing lines to the company's facility in Booneville, MS. The plant is currently running three shifts and has recently added 80 new jobs and two slicing lines. The facility slices sandwich meats, including beef products. Work on the 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot addition will begin in October and is expected to be complete in early 2006.