Competition on the global beef markets is set to get tougher.
According to forecasts from the US Department of Agriculture, global beef exports are set to rise by 5% during 2003.
More than 6.5 million tonnes will be exported as Australia, Brazil and Argentina increase production, with increased import demand expected from Japan and Russia, the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia reports.
Australia is expected to increase its exports by 6% next year to 1.5 million tonnes, following a rise in home production of around 7% to 2.25 million tonnes due to higher cattle numbers.
However, the United States is expecting a reduction in overall production by around 5% to 11.7 million tonnes, likely to limit any increase in exports.
Brazilian beef exports are expected to increase by a further 10%, or 87,000 tonnes, in 2003 to 925,000 tonnes, with total production up 3% to just under 7.4 million tonnes.
USDA forecasts also indicate that exports from the European Union are likely to rise by nearly 8% to 570,000 tonnes.