Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Jul 25, 2005
by WLJ

China owns world’s largest cow herd
China, having the largest beef cow herd in the world at 65 million head and growing, produces 12% of the world’s beef supply with 27% of the world’s beef cows, according to Cattle-Fax research. Brazil ranks second, producing 14% of the world’s beef supply from 47.5 million cows. The U.S. beef industry, third with 33 million beef cows, produces 23% of the world’s beef, and is identified as the world’s most productive. Argentina ranks fourth, the European Union fifth, and Australia sixth in the beef cow inventory category with 12.5 million cows. Mexico is seventh with 11.5 million head, and Canada tenth with 5 million beef cows.

Plant in South Dakota moves ahead
A Ridgefield Farms executive recently said the company will move forward with plans for a beef processing plant in Huron, SD. July 10 was the deadline for investors to withdraw money from the project. But Ridgefield officials said most of the money that had been committed remains intact. Last month, Ridgefield announced a change in its business plan which required officials to give investors a 30-day rescission period. Under the new plan, Ridgefield would spend about $20 million on a fabrication and cold storage facility. A slaughtering plant would be added later.

Executives leave Iowa Quality Beef
The top two officials at Iowa Quality Beef Supply Cooperative have resigned from the farmer-owned venture that owns the now-closed meatpacking plant in Tama, IA. Gene Rouse, president of the co-op, and Ed Greiman, who was in charge of cattle procurement for the Tama plant, both resigned their positions effective July 31. Rouse will continue in a special projects position for the co-op after Aug. 1, including a source-verification project that will track cattle from the farm to the slaughter plant. The co-op is continuing to search for a partner that would operate the Tama plant. It closed last August when American Foods Group of Green Bay, WI, dropped out of its joint venture with the farmer cooperative. In the meantime, the co-op is selling 1,000 cattle a week to Swift and Company.

Brazilian exports jump January-June
Beef exported from Brazil during the first six months of 2005 reached $1.46 billion in value, up 30 percent from a year ago, and they exported another $676 million in leather from cattle. According to the Brazilian Meat Exporters Association, the increases came from increased production, not higher prices. Russia was Brazil’s single largest customer, at $200 million, an increase of more than 100 percent. Exports to Arab countries, particularly Egypt, were rising sharply and should surpass exports to the European Union within three years.

McDonald’s Q2 profits jump
McDonald’s Corp. recently announced its second-quarter results handily beat Wall Street’s estimates as longer hours and new products continue to lift sales. McDonald’s released figures showing that its sales growth pace accelerated in June and said operating earnings will surpass analysts’ expectations by three cents per share. The company reported 3.8 percent growth last month in global same-store sales, or sales at restaurants open at least one year, compared to 2.8 percent for the full second quarter and 3.7 percent year to date. U.S. same-store sales climbed 5.4 percent in June, 4.8 percent for the quarter and five percent so far this year. McDonald’s got an additional boost from an appellate court ruling overturning the ban on imports of Canadian cattle.

Chile reopens to U.S. beef
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns last week announced that Chile lifted its ban on U.S. beef and beef products from animals less than 30 months of age. In 2003, the U.S. exported $5.3 million worth of beef and beef products to Chile. Chile imposed a ban on U.S. beef and beef products on Dec. 24, 2003, after a case of BSE was confirmed in Washington state.

Burger King grows in Brazil
Burger King Corp. has opened its first freestanding Burger King restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The new restaurant is the company’s fifth store since entering the country last November. The location can seat up to 260 people and has both covered and open-air parking, an outdoor patio, mezzanine and private party room. The fast-food chain also said the restaurant will be open late most evenings to accommodate people who frequent neighboring nightspots. The company said it has met or exceeded projections in Brazil, having already served more than 1.5 million guests in its four food court outlets. Those locations are in malls throughout Sao Paulo. Burger King said more restaurants will be opened in Sao Paulo in the near future.

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