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What next with Europe beef production in decline?

With European beef production in slow decline, our own livestock producers need to start thinking now about what will be best for foreign markets once OTMS and DBES are lifted.

The wake-up call comes from the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX) meat export manager J-P Garnier who has been studying the beef preferences of European markets.

He warned that much of the lead Britain enjoyed in the 1990s in terms of farm assurance has now disappeared as quality schemes have sprung up across the Continent. But according to J-P, there are still plenty of opportunities ( as long as we are producing the right beef for the right markets.

Among his findings are:

* European catering ( chefs are looking for specific breeds such as Aberdeen Angus or Hereford. They want highly marbled beef from heifers or steers of class R4 and are willing to pay for it.

* Italy, Greece, Portugal ( highly muscled Limousin or Charolais young bulls with white fat and light colour. Class E2 - U2.

* France ( good quality, young, well-finished cows weighing above 270kg of Class R3 or O3.

* Offal ( a lucrative market still exists in Europe for beef offal.

J-P said: "Exports will bring new and additional opportunities for professional beef farmers to add value.

"High prices can be achieved in Continental Europe."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2004
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