Beef Market Advisor

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Why is it that Japan has such a larger leverage over the U.S. beef industry?


Harlan Hughes

Professor Emeritus
North Dakota State University

The U.S. has been expanding its beef exports since 1985. In 2002, the U.S. produced 27.091 billion pounds of beef of which 2.44732 billion pounds were exported. When processed beef is also considered along with live cattle, the U.S. imported a carcass weight equivalent to 1.090909 billion pounds of beef and veal from Canada. To put U.S. exports in perspective, during 2002 the U.S. exported 224% more beef to all countries than the U.S. imported from Canada.

The U.S. needs the Japanese export market to sustain the current favorable U.S. beef prices. The U.S. exported 0.730 billion pounds of beef and variety meats to Japan during 2002 – down 35% from the 0.968 billion pounds exported to Japan in 2001. Beef exports from the U.S. to Japan in 2002 equaled 89% of the beef pounds imported from Canada.

BSE in Japan in September 2001 has taken its toll on U.S. beef exports to Japan. In 2002, nine percent of U.S. beef production was exported – but this is down from 2.695 billion pounds exported in 2000. The U.S. beef industry is fighting to keep its Japanese beef exports as Japan is the largest U.S. beef export customer. As a result, Japan know this and is capitalizing on this market power.

Let's put the North American beef production in perspective so that we can better predict the impact of the border opening in the near future. In 2002 the U.S. cattle slaughter consisted of 33,247,606 head of U.S. born, raised and harvested in the U. S. This was 93 percent of the all cattle harvested in the United States. The data shows that 1,007,627 head (2.82%) of cattle harvested in the U.S. during 2002 were born and raised in Canada while another 671,066 (1.88%) head were born in Canada but fed-out in the U.S.

Of the Canadian cattle imported weighing over 700 pounds, 80.0% (1,007,627 head) were slaughtered more-or-less immediately and 19.8% (249,388) were fed-out and harvested in the U.S. Data shows that 202,594 head of Canadian cattle were imported weighing between 440 and 700 pounds and were fed-out and harvested in the U.S. Finally, 202,564 head of the Canadian cattle were imported weighting less than 440 pounds and fed-fed out and harvested in the U.S. market. This totals to 1,249,305 head of Canadian cattle harvested in the U.S. in 2002. This compares to 33,247,606 (93.4%) cattle born, raised and harvested in the U.S.

In summary, Canadian cattle accounted for 4% of the cattle harvested in the U.S. during 2002.

posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 8:26 PM [edit]


Midyear cattle inventory shows drop in supplies
The USDA's July Cattle Inventory report, released last week, indicated a continued
modest reduction in the size of the U.S. beef herd. All cattle and calves in the United
States, as of July 1, totaled 103.9 million head, 1 percent below one year earlier and 2
percent below July 1, 2001. Beef cows and all cows and heifers that have calved were
down slightly from last year and 1 percent lower than two years ago. Heifer numbers
were down 2 percent, but the number of beef heifers held for replacement was
unchanged from last year, suggesting producers might be shifting gradually from a
herd-reduction phase toward modest expansion. For the complete report, go to

posted by Dr. Harlan Hughes 11:03 AM [edit]

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