The South America Cattle Report for March 8, 2017

By Patrick Archer and Ing. Agr. Eduardo Blasina

MONTEVIDEO – In this week’s South America Cattle Report, Argentina beef exports surge in January, Brazil launches a new bone-in platform, Paraguay wants to export poultry to the Arab world, and Uruguay posts the best February slaughter numbers in history.

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US$1 = 28.2800 UYU

Uruguay Cattle Market Prices

Local meatpackers lowered their reference prices for the second consecutive week which resulted in little interest on the part of producers to sell their animals. The industry is already well stocked, while ranchers have ample pasture and kilos they can pack on their animals at very low cost. Given that both groups are content with the status quo, we should see weekly slaughter numbers pull back for the next few weeks.

The Cattle Brokers Association (ACG) weekly reference price for steers fell four cents from US$2.95 to US$2.91 per kilo on-the-hook (cuarta balanza), while the live weight reference price is now US$1.59 per kilo. The reference price paid for heifers also fell four cents to US$2.63 per kilo on-the-hook. Supply lines at most plants nationwide are running 7 to 10 days.

In the sheep market, the weekly reference price for sheep fell three cents to US$2.67 per kilo, and the average price for heavy lambs (over 35 kilos) fell two cents to US$3.13 per kilo.

Uruguay Weekly Slaughter Activity

Total weekly cattle slaughter for the week ended March 4 was 46,677 head, or 6% lower than the week prior and 16% higher than the same week in 2016. Heifers represented 50.1% of the total with 23,391 head, which is also 6% below last week and 10% above the same week last year.

As predicted in our last cattle report, total slaughter for the month of February shattered the old record and reached 198,445 head. The total heifer number, 102,997, also set a new record for February and represented 52% of the total monthly slaughter.

Weekly cattle slaughter activity by plant was again led by Breeders & Packers Uruguay (BPU) with 4,159 head followed by Frigorifico Las Piedras with 3,946 animals and Tacuarembó with 3,668 head.

Weekly sheep slaughter fell 20% to 13,535 animals, or 3% more than the same week last year. Total lamb slaughter fell 34% to 5,485 head, and total sheep slaughter slipped 2% to 5,366 animals. San Jacinto led all meatpackers with 4,279 head followed by Somicar (3,671) and Las Piedras (3,516).

Uruguay Meat Export Prices

For the week ended March 4, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay beef exports rose 1.3% to US$3,313 per ton. The four-week moving average price of Uruguay beef exports is now US$3,381 per ton or 4.5% lower than the same time last year.

For the same week, the National Meat Institute (INAC) weekly reference price for Uruguay sheepmeat exports fell 18% to US$3,702 per ton. The four-week moving average price of Uruguay sheepmeat is now US$4,096 per ton or 6.7% below this time last year. (Blasina & Associates)

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US$1 = 3.1484 BRL

Brazil Launches New Bone-In Quality Platform

In order to guarantee the production of quality meat, the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil (CNA) created the “Bone-In Meat Quality Platform.” This computerized tool, developed by the CNA in partnership with Embrapa, allows the certification of Brazilian beef during the various production stages. By registering on the platform, cattle ranchers have access to Bovine Breeding Bonus Programs. In this first module there will be six bonus programs available to producers of Angus, Hereford, Braford, Charolais, Wagyu and Nelore. (Portal DBO)

Meat inspectors from Singapore arrive in Brazil next week to inspect local meatpackers of beef, pork and poultry. The inspections will take place at plants in Mato Grosso do Sul and Santa Catarina. The Ministry of Agriculture says the Singapore authorities are coming to verify the quality controls implemented by Brazilian meatpackers. Last year Brazil meat exports to Singapore reached US$326 million, an 8.5% increase over the US$298 million shipped in 2015. (Canal Rural)

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US$1 = 15.5952 ARS

Argentina Beef Exports Rose 177% in January

Argentina beef exports posted a triple-digit gain in January, according to new numbers from the Argentina Meat Exporters Consortium (ABC). Argentina exported 25,000 tons of beef in January which was a 177% increase over the same month in 2016 when the country shipped fewer than 10,000 tons of beef. ABC says the increase is due to stronger sales this year to China, Israel and the European Union. China accounted for 7,300 tons or 30% of the total beef exports, while EU sales remained firm with a slight recovery of Hilton quota sales. (SuperCampo)

Argentina, long famous for its beef, actually generates more export revenue from fish. “Adios to the Country of the Barbecue” is the headline of a BeefPoint article which says for every US$10 that Argentina exports in beef, it generates US$17 in fish exports. In 2016, the country exported US$1.043 billion of fresh, frozen and processed beef compared to US$1.7 billion of fish exports. Of the 688,730 tons of fish Argentina exported last year, a little more than half was shipped from the country’s main fish port in Mar del Plata. (BeefPoint)


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US$1 = 5,415.70 PYG

Paraguay Looks to Expand Exports to Hong Kong, UAE

A delegation from Paraguay’s National Agency of Animal Health and Quality (SENACSA) and the Paraguay Meat Chamber is traveling to Asia this week in hopes of opening meat shipments to Hong Kong. The public/private delegation is made up of both government officials including Primo Ricardo Feltes and Arnaldo Bavera from SENACSA, Juan Carlos Petengill and Felipe Azarías from the Chamber, and representatives of Paraguay meatpackers Guaraní and JBS. (NEA Rural)

Paraguay is one step closer to exporting poultry to the Middle East, according to aviNews. The report says Paraguay officials are working to meet the sanitary requirements demanded by UAE importers in order to begin shipping Paraguay poultry to Dubai. Pilar Zubizarreta, the director of producer Pollpar, says Paraguay could receive authorization to ship poultry to the Arab world in the second half of the year, and then local meatpackers would need to prove they meet the standards required by UAE importers. (aviNews)

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