Brazilian beef production grows

Falls in feed prices have boosted margins for Brazilian cattle farmers

Beef production in Brazil was up 7 per cent in the first half of 2023, with competitive prices supporting international trade.

Beef production reached 4.1 million tonnes in the first half of the year, due to an increased availability of cattle to slaughter.

Feed costs have fallen due to higher availability, boosting margins, according to AHDB.

USDA have predicted that Brazil’s main competitors – US, EU and Argentina – will be slowing their production, further enhancing the opportunity for Brazil to grow its beef production.


Trainee AHDB analyst Becky Smith said: “However, this may be contingent on the growth of Australian exports, as their production is expected to grow through to 2024, and the markets they may export to could compete with Brazilian exports.”

In Brazil, lower domestic prices and improved economic conditions, combined with increased availability have led to higher domestic consumption.

See also: Beef price falls halted by fewer numbers

But this may come under pressure if the economic situation changes in Brazil, with consumers opting to trade down to more affordable proteins such as poultry and pork.

Ms Smith said: “Brazil’s beef exports remain amongst the most competitive, volume wise, in the world, as exports to date (Jan – Aug) totalled 1.23mt.

“This is a fall of 5 per cent from the same period in 2022, as volumes to China fell by 8 per cent, down to 719,000t for 2023. China remains the most important trading partner for Brazil, at 59 per cent of its total export volume.”

Chinese exports

The market share of exports to China has grown significantly since 2019, up from 23 per cent to a peak of 60 per cent in 2022. This is despite multiple challenges facing export into the Chinese market, such as waning consumer demand and trade interruptions from BSE cases in Brazil.

See also: Last live export ship sails from New Zealand

“Whilst Brazil’s exports are dependent on Chinese demand, industry sources remark that Brazil are looking to diversify the base of their exports, into countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore,” Ms Smith said.

Ms Smith added the growth in production was unlikely to directly impact the UK, with the majority of the 13,700t imported from Brazil corned beef.

However, any interruption to trading dynamics could shift the international markets.