BEEF bits

Dec 3, 2010
by WLJ

U.S. meat exports continue trend

The global appetite for U.S. beef continues to grow.

For the fifth week in a row, beef exports exceeded 35.2 million pounds and remained well above pre-BSE 2003 levels, according to a report from the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Exports to Mexico (8.8 million pounds) continued their rebound, and volumes remained strong to other markets, including Korea (5.7 million pounds), Japan (4.9 million pounds), Vietnam (4.4 million pounds) and Canada (4.2 million pounds), helping to ensure a very strong finish to 2010. The value of beef exports in September 2010 equated to $151 per head of steer and heifer slaughtered and accounted for 11 percent of total U.S. production. This compares to $118.17 per head in September of 2009 when exports were 9.5 percent of total production. For the first nine months of 2010, the value of exports per head is $145.07 per head, which is $8.60 more than values in 2003.

2011 long-range plan in development

A team of beef industry leaders has initiated the beef industry’s 2011 long-range planning process. The group’s final report will be a three-year strategic plan for the beef industry. At an earlier meeting, the group reviewed an industry economic outlook and heard current and future situational assessments on international markets, consumer/social trends, political landscape, and production and management trends. After this information was heard and discussed, the group completed a formal, industry wide situation assessment, drafted mission and vision statements for the industry, defined relevant goals and objectives, and identified the most critical strategic issues and opportunities to be addressed in the industry long-range plan. The group met again in November and plans to deliver a completed draft of the long-range plan to the directors of various industry organizations for review and approval early in 2011.

New beef roasts for the holidays

This holiday season, consumers may find two new beef roasts available for holiday celebrations. New roasts? A new way of cutting traditional beef roasts results in smaller, leaner and quick-to-cook roasts that provide a tender and juicy beef-eating experience. The beef checkoff is partnering with two retailers to introduce the new roasts to customers in December.

Available at Hy-Vee’s and Dahl’s, the new roasts come from either the beef sirloin or top loin. By cutting the larger muscle lengthwise, the naturally tender roasts are smaller in diameter and typically take only an hour to roast. The Top Loin Petite Roast and the Top Sirloin Petite Roast each weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 pounds. They come netted or tied with string to hold their shape. Both roasts meet the USDA guidelines for a “lean” cut of meat. A cooked three-ounce serving of lean beef averages only 154 calories. Lean protein helps reduce hunger so with all the holiday temptations, eating lean protein at meals is a great strategy to help control hunger and cravings.

FMD-free status for Santa Catarina

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on Nov. 16 its decision to add the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina to the list of regions the agency recognizes as free of foot and mouth disease (FMD), rinderpest, swine vesicular disease, classical swine fever, and African swine fever. APHIS officials also announced the addition of Santa Catarina to the list of regions that are subject to certain import restrictions on meat and meat products “because of their proximity to or trading relationships with rinderpest or FMD-affected countries.” APHIS officials say these actions update the disease status of Santa Catarina with regard to specific animal diseases while “continuing to protect the U.S. from an introduction of those diseases by providing additional requirements for live swine, pork meat, pork products, live ruminants, ruminant meat and ruminant products imported into the U.S. from Santa Catarina.” The effective date of both decisions was Dec. 1, 2010.

USDA revises export forecasts

USDA raised its export forecasts for beef and pork in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2011, last week, but lowered its poultry export forecast in its Outlook for U.S. Agriculture Trade report. USDA raised its forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy exports by $1.2 billion, to $23 billion, with gains in all but poultry in its quarterly report compared to its previous forecast issued in August. Beef exports were forecast at $3.7 billion, up $500 million on higher unit values and volumes. Gains are expected in hides and skins, raised $300 million, as improving global economic conditions bolster demand. USDA lowered its forecast of beef and veal imports to $3.1 billion from $3.3 billion forecast in August. The forecast for cattle imports for 2011 at 2.1 million head was 2 percent lower than in 2010 due to decreased cattle inventories in Canada and Mexico. Overall, livestock and meat imports are projected to increase by $550 million in 2011.