Summer 2023 outlooks for global beef and lamb markets

Global outlooks for beef and lamb markets for the remainder of 2023 suggest that production is set to increase for both meats, as key players such as Brazil, Argentina and Australia grow their output. Closer to home, the EU short-term outlook shows a decline in beef and sheep production for the remainder of the year, following contraction in breeding stock numbers.


Global beef production for 2023 is forecast to reach 59.6 million tonnes (+0.4% vs 2022), up 1% from April’s forecast, according to the USDA’s latest outlook. The key players have shifted slightly, as production is expected to grow in Argentina, USA and New Zealand. Drought in Argentina has reduced available forage, forcing further liquidation in the herd, as the production forecast has risen by 6% since the previous USDA forecast.

Compared to previous estimates, July’s forecast sees US beef production grow by 1% with higher cow slaughter and greater movement to feedlots. New Zealand’s beef production is set to grow by 3% from April’s forecast as more calves come forward from the dairy sector to be produced for beef.

In terms of international trade, exports are unchanged from the previous forecast, at 12.1m tonnes. However, there are key winners and losers as export forecasts have been revised upwards for New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. Demand from China will boost exports from South America, while Australia will benefit from exports to Japan and South Korea. Boosted demand for processing beef in the USA will allow for additional exports from Australia and New Zealand.

Export forecasts have fallen for the EU, UK and Mexico as falling demand from the EU reduces UK exports, lower EU production dampens its export capacity, and a challenging exchange rate hampers Mexican exports.

EU beef production continues to decline, as production is expected to fall by 1.8% in 2023. The previous EU outlook showed production falling due to contractions in the dairy and suckler herds. Despite lower beef supplies, prices have eased since January as consumer demand struggles. However, globally EU prices are relatively firm, weighing on the competitiveness of exports into other markets. EU exports are predicted to fall by 5% in 2023 as a result.

Inflation and the cost of living continues to weigh on consumption, as consumers reduce their purchases of beef, and switch from eating-out to eating-in. There has been little change from the previous outlook that saw consumption falling by 10kg (-1.7%) from 2022 levels.

table showing usda predictions for global beef production