Tag Archives: Beef

South Korea continues to be the growth leader for U.S. beef exports, with first quarter volume climbing 8% year-over-year to 56,173 mt, while value ($414.2 million) was 13% above last year’s record-shattering pace. U.S. beef has achieved remarkable success in Korea’s traditional retail and restaurant sectors but is also rapidly gaining popularity in outlets such as convenience stores and e-commerce platforms. Recent export growth is not only in the ever-popular short rib category, but also in short plate, briskets, clods and rounds, as end-users recognize the versatility and affordability of high-quality U.S. beef.

Beef exports to Japan were moderately lower than a year ago in March, but still finished the first quarter 2% above last year’s pace in volume (74,147 mt) and 5% higher in value ($480.4 million). This was fueled by growth in variety meat exports, with the U.S. shipping more tongues and skirt meat to Japan. U.S. beef faces a widening tariff disadvantage in Japan compared to imports from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico, and the latest tariff reduction for these countries didn’t take effect until April 1.

“U.S. beef cuts are still subject to a 38.5% tariff in Japan while our competitors’ rate is nearly one-third lower at 26.6%,” explained Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “This really underscores the urgency of the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations, which must progress quickly if we are going to continue to have success in the leading value market for U.S. beef and pork.”

Japan’s tariffs on beef variety meat are lower, but U.S. shipments are subject to a duty of 12.8% while competitors pay less than half that rate.

Other first quarter highlights for U.S. beef include:

  • Beef muscle cut exports to Mexico continued to shine, with first quarter volume up 14% from a year ago to 35,481 mt and value climbing 16% to $220.7 million. While variety meat exports trended lower year-over-year, combined beef/beef variety volume still increased 1% to 57,591 mt while value jumped 12% to $280.2 million.
  • Exports to Taiwan were 3% above last year’s record pace at 13,487 mt, though value slipped 7% to $117.8 million. U.S. beef dominates Taiwan’s chilled beef market with nearly 75% market share – the highest of any Asian destination.
  • CAFTA-DR markets continue to be an excellent source of growth for U.S. beef exports, with first quarter volume to Central America up 15% from a year ago to 3,628 mt and value up 19% to $21.2 million. Exports to the Dominican Republic soared 71% to 2,345 mt valued at $18.9 million (up 65%).
  • Lower exports to Hong Kong and Canada offset some of the first quarter growth in other markets. Exports to Hong Kong trailed last year’s pace by 36% in volume (21,304 mt) and 30% in value ($177.1 million). Exports to Canada were down 14% in both volume (23,199 mt) and value ($143.8 million).
  • U.S. exports to China were up 4% from a year ago to 1,723 mt, but this came at lower prices as export value fell 17% to $13.2 million. There is tremendous potential in the Chinese market for U.S. beef, but due to China’s restrictive import requirements and retaliatory duties pushing the tariff rate to 37%, U.S. prices are significantly higher than the competition. By comparison, most beef suppliers are subject to a 12% tariff in China while beef from New Zealand is duty-free and Australian beef pays only a 6% rate. Australia’s grain-fed beef exports to China in the first quarter totaled 14,347 mt, up 77% year-over-year.

For the first quarter of 2019, U.S. beef exports were slightly below last year’s record pace while pork exports continued to be slowed by trade barriers, according to March data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). U.S. lamb exports were a first quarter bright spot, trending significantly higher than a year ago.

March beef exports totaled 107,655 metric tons (mt), down 4% year-over-year, while value fell 2% to $678 million. For the first quarter, exports were down 3% at 307,306 mt valued at $1.9 billion (down 0.8%).

March beef exports were very strong on a per-head basis, with export value per head of fed slaughter averaging $335.81 – up 1% from a year ago and the highest since December. The first quarter average was $309.32/head, down 2% from a year ago. March exports accounted for 13.6% of total U.S. beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only, which was fairly steady with last March. For the first quarter these ratios were 12.9% and 10.2%, down from 13.2% and 10.7%, respectively, a year ago.

Pork exports totaled 211,688 mt in March, down 7% from a year ago, valued at $520.7 million (down 15%). First quarter exports were 6% below last year’s pace in volume (600,268 mt) and down 14% in value ($1.47 billion).

Pork export value averaged $48.55 per head slaughtered in March, down 15% from a year ago. For January through March, export value averaged $46.15 per head, down 16% from the first quarter of 2018. March exports accounted for 25.6% of total U.S. pork production and 22.7% for muscle cuts only – down from 27.5% and 23.5%, respectively in March 2018. First quarter exports accounted for 24.4% of total pork production (down from 26.6%) and 21.3% for muscle cuts (down from 23%).

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on April 1, 2019. The inventory was 2% above April 1, 2018, USDA reported Thursday.

Listen to see what Jerry Stowell had to say about the report: https://post.futurimedia.com/krvnam/playlist/cattle-on-feed-report-wjerry-stowell-4-19-6528.html

This is the highest April 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. The inventory included 7.45 million steers and steer calves, down 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.51 million head, up 8% from 2018.

Placements in feedlots during March totaled 2.01 million head, 5% above 2018. Net placements were 1.95 million head. During March, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 325,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 300,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 595,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 539,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 185,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 70,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during March totaled 1.78 million head, 3% below 2018.

Other disappearance totaled 69,000 head during March, 3% above 2018.

“The increase in placements as well as the combined growth in overall fed cattle numbers is expected to negatively affect trade values early Monday once futures trade opens following the long holiday weekend,” said DTN Analyst Rick Kment. “Cattle marketed in March were slightly higher than early estimates, but still fell 3% from year-ago levels based on adverse weather conditions, limiting gain in many areas of the country. The lower marketed level is not expected to offset the pressure of growing cattle supplies.”

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To view the full Cattle on Feed report, visit https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

USDA Actual Average Guess Range
On Feed April 1 102.0% 101.8% 100.4-102.2%
Placed in March 105.0% 103.8% 97.9-106.0%
Marketed in March 97.0% 96.8% 95.7-98.4%

CENTENNIAL, CO — The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB) has named Gregory Hanes of Colorado as their new chief executive officer, effective June 17, 2019.

“Knowledge of beef producers and the overall beef industry is a must in this role,” notes Chuck Coffey, CBB chairman from Davis, Oklahoma. “Greg is well-regarded – both here in the U.S. and abroad – for his background and understanding of promoting beef and building industry relationships.”

The Beef Board is a body which oversees the Beef Checkoff and works very closely with the USDA, state beef councils, contractors, beef industry leaders and cattle producers. As a result, the person who serves as the Beef Board’s operational leader needs to function in many different roles and in many environments. According to Coffey, Hanes fits that description very well.

“Greg is extremely talented with a diversified skillset,” said Coffey. “He already has knowledge of the Beef Checkoff, and he’s an outstanding public speaker who clearly articulates his message, has a great work ethic and is a team builder at all levels. Most importantly, he is passionate about the beef industry. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board is elated to have him as part of the team.”

Hanes comes to the CBB from the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in Denver, Colorado, where he most recently was vice president of international marketing programs, and he led the marketing team through global strategic planning processes. Hanes also served as the USMEF liaison to the beef industry and worked closed with a variety of national and state beef organizations. From 2006 to 2009, he was the director of the USMEF’s Tokyo-based office, where he was responsible for all activities occurring in Japan. During his time as the USMEF Japan director, Hanes lived in Japan for nearly 11 years. Throughout his time overseas, he was the only foreigner in a Japanese company, and he held an additional position with responsibilities across Asia.

Hanes currently serves as the chair of the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council (USAEDC), a group comprised of 80 U.S. commodity trade associations, farmer cooperatives and state regional trade groups from around the country, representing the interests of growers and processors of U.S. agricultural products.

In addition to a master’s degree in international management with an emphasis in marketing from the Thunderbird School of Management at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona, Hanes also holds a B.A. in economics from Colorado College. Hanes was born and raised in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

For more information about the Beef Checkoff and its programs, including promotion, research, foreign marketing, industry information, consumer information and safety, visitDrivingDemandforBeef.com

(THE CONVERSATION) People eat animals that eat plants. If we just eliminate that middle step and eat plants directly, we would diminish our carbon footprint, decrease agricultural land usage, eliminate health risks associated with red meat and alleviate ethical concerns over animal welfare. For many of us, the major hurdle to executing this plan is that meat tastes good. Really good. By contrast, a veggie burger tastes like, well, a veggie burger. It does not satisfy the craving because it does not look, smell or taste like beef. It does not bleed like beef.

Impossible Foods, a California-based company, seeks to change this by adding a plant product to their veggie burger with properties people normally associate with animals and give it the desired qualities of beef. The Impossible Burger has been sold in local restaurants since 2016 and is now expanding its market nationwide by teaming up with Burger King to create the Impossible Whopper. The Impossible Whopper is currently being test marketed in St. Louis, with plans to expand nationally if things go well there.

But what exactly is being added to this veggie burger? Does it make the burger less vegan? Is the additive from a GMO? Does it prevent the burger from being labeled organic?

I am a molecular biologist and biochemist interested in understanding how plants and bacteria interact with each other and with the environment, and how that relates to human health. This knowledge has been applied in a way that I did not anticipate to develop the Impossible Burger.

What on earth is leghemoglobin?

The Impossible Burger includes an ingredient from soybeans called leghemoglobin, which is a protein that is chemically bound to a non-protein molecule called heme that gives leghemoglobin its blood red color. In fact, a heme – an iron-containing molecule – is what gives blood and red meat their color. Leghemoglobin is evolutionarily related to animal myoglobin found in muscle and hemoglobin in blood, and serves to regulate oxygen supply to cells.

Heme gives the Impossible Burger the appearance, cooking aroma and taste of beef. I recruited a scientific colleague in St. Louis to try out the Impossible Whopper, and he could not distinguish it from its meaty counterpart. Although he was quick to qualify this by noting all of the other stuff on the Whopper may mask any differences.

So, why aren’t soybean plants red? Leghemoglobin is found in many legumes, hence its name, and is highly abundant within specialized structures on the roots called nodules. If you cut open a nodule with your thumbnail, you will see that it is very red due to leghemoglobin. The soybean nodule forms as a response to its interaction with the symbiotic bacterium Bradyrhizobium japonicum.

I suspect that Impossible Foods depicts a soybean without nodules on their website because people tend to be creeped out by bacteria even though Bradyrhizobium is beneficial.

My research group’s interest in the symbiotic relationship between the soybean and its bacterial sidekick Bradyrhizobium japonicum is motivated by the goal of reducing humanity’s carbon footprint, but not by creating palatable veggie burgers.

The bacteria within root nodules take nitrogen from the air and convert it to a nutrient form that the plant can use for growth and sustenance – a process called nitrogen fixation. The symbiosis lessens the reliance on chemical nitrogen fertilizers, which consume a lot of fossil fuel energy to manufacture, and which also pollute the water supply.

Some research groups are interested in extending the symbiosis by genetically engineering crops such as corn and wheat so that they can reap the benefits of nitrogen fixation, which only some plants, including legumes, can do now.

I am pleasantly surprised and a little amused that esoteric terms of my vocation such as heme and leghemoglobin have found their way into the public lexicon and on the wrapper of a fast-food sandwich.

Is leghemoglobin vegan? A non-GMO? Organic?

Leghemoglobin is the ingredient that defines the Impossible Burger, but it is also the additive most closely scrutinized by those seeking assurances of it being organic, non-GMO or vegan.

The leghemoglobin used in the burgers comes from a genetically engineered yeast that harbors the DNA instructions from the soybean plant to manufacture the protein. Adding the soybean gene into the yeast then makes it a GMO. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees with the “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) designation of soybean leghemoglobin. Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits the “organic” label for foods derived from genetically modified organisms. It is ironic that an innovation that may be eco-friendly and sustainable must be readily dismissed by groups that claim to share those goals.

Not all vegans are delighted by this new burger. Some insist that a GMO product cannot be vegan for various reasons, including animal testing of products such as leghemoglobin. In my view, the moral certitude of that position can be challenged because it does not take into account the cattle that are spared. Other vegans view GMOs as a solution to problems that are important to them.

Judging from its website, Impossible Foods is keenly aware of the constituencies that weigh in on their product. It includes a link describing how GMOs are saving civilization. But they also make the misleading claim that “Here at Impossible Foods, heme is made directly from plants.” In reality, it comes directly from yeast.

The commercialization of leghemoglobin represents an unanticipated consequence of inquiry into an interesting biological phenomenon. The benefits of scientific research are often unforeseen at the time of their discovery. Whether or not the Impossible Burger venture succeeds on a large scale remains to be seen, but surely food technology will continue to evolve to accommodate human needs as it has since the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago.