The impact of U.S. beef exports on calf prices continues to rise as experts advise ranchers to stay abreast of trade developments globally.
Randy Blach, CEO of CattleFax in Denver, Colorado, told attendees at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course in College Station that exports have become an integral part of calf prices and, following the latest trade discussions, are imperative when formulating marketing plans.
“Just look at how fast our export markets have grown since Christmas 2003 when we had BSE,” Blach said. “We have the opportunity for that value to go as high $500.”
To put the importance of beef export markets into perspective, Blach said the U.S. exports 17 billion pounds of beef worth $18 billion. “That’s $365 in value of the calf you are producing,” he said. “We’ve really got to keep an eye on these trade situations.”
Industry experts note consumers are wanting more protein at a record pace. “We will have record meat consumption in 2019 in the U.S.,” Blach said. “ Never in our history have we consumed more red meat, pork and poultry than we are now. People are eating livestock protein.”
Dr. Jason Cleere, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, College Station, and Kelley Sullivan, co-owner of Santa Rosa Ranch in Navasota and Crockett, discussed China markets and their potential. Both serve on the Texas Beef Council board of directors and were part of recent visits to China and Japan to learn more about opportunities in trade and share educational programming with representatives in those countries.
Sullivan touted the value of undesirable beef carcass parts in U.S. that are in great demand in Japan and other parts of the world. “About $165 to $170 of the check you get from the sale of a calf comes from that export market,” Sullivan said. “Where that’s coming from are the parts we don’t like, such as beef tongue. In the U.S. we pay $1 a pound, in Japan $6 a pound. Beef intestine, in the U.S. there’s zero value, but it’s $1.50 a pound in Japan. It’s critical to have those export markets.”
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