Beef shortage prompts further price hikes

Corned beef prices are set to rise again as a serious cattle shortage in Brazil forces farmers to cut production. A forecast delay of up to eight weeks for the rainy season, which had been due to start now, has led to farmers holding back the release of pasture cattle to market until they reach profitable weights. Current corned beef shipments are also behind schedule with shortages only likely to get worse, according to one leading UK importer. The ban on the export of Brazilian frozen or fresh beef into the EU, which came into force last month, has not helped the situation. Normally a ban would have diverted beef into manufacturing, but with world demand outstripping supply, it has been diverted to the US frozen cooked market, the Middle East and Russia.