Mixed results for EU beef production as sheep meat sees boost

Mixed results for EU beef production as sheep meat sees boost

EU beef production recorded mixed results for the first half of 2022 (H1), with the two largest producers recording lower figures year-on-year. However, EU sheep meat production increased over the same period.

Looking at EU beef, total production was 0.7% lower year-on-year for H1, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB) latest figures.

Focusing on the top beef producers, production levels were mixed during H1 compared to a year ago. Production in the two largest producers was lower, with Germany decreasing 9% and France down 4%. Output also declined in the Netherlands and Belgium, but to lesser extents.

Elsewhere, Spain grew its production levels by 7% year-on-year, as did Ireland by 8% and Italy by 5%, whereas Polish production remained largely flat over the same period.

Sheep meat

However, total EU sheep meat production rose 1% year-on-year between January and May. The main uplift according to AHDB was in Irish production, which increased 17%. It added that the Irish breeding sheep flock has recorded continued growth, according to the latest census results. Output also rose in Italy by 10% and by 1% in Spain.

Greece is one of the larger producers of sheep meat in the EU, typically making up 12% of monthly EU sheep meat production, according to AHDB. Data available for the first five months of 2022 recorded that Greece’s production fell 6% year-on-year.

AHDB red meet analyst Hannah Clarke said: “If this trend continued into June, this would translate to a lower rate of growth for the EU in total for the first half of the year. Production will have still increased year on year, although by only 0.5%.”

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