Juan Javier Rios |
Madrid (EFE).- Is there a collapse in the slaughterhouses? The question has arisen after some slaughter rooms and some agricultural organizations have raised their voices, warning of a significant rise in shipments of cattle, especially cows, to the slaughterhouse due to the impossibility of ensuring the supply of fodder due to the drought.
But is it really so? Are all or most slaughterhouses on a waiting list or even collapsed due to this phenomenon?
While some, mainly meat farmers, assure that they are not aware of such a collapse, others, dairy farmers and slaughterhouses that have decided to make their situation public, denounce the contrary.
Given this situation, it is necessary to go to the prices in the markets because they serve as a thermometer to see what is happening.
The latest report from the Telelonjas information system, consulted by Efeagro, indicates that the price of cows is falling “more strongly due to supply pressure.”
According to Telelonjas, “drought and a falling milk price make profitability very difficult and more are being sacrificed, with the consequent concern in the sector for the future replacement of animals.”
If you take a look at the tables of Binéfar, a benchmark market in the beef sector, you can see that, indeed, the kilo of the carcass of suckler cows (breeding cows) is now 12 cents cheaper than two weeks ago and about 20 cents cheaper than at the beginning of February.
It is clear, therefore, that in a few weeks now more cows are being sent to the slaughterhouse, but the question is whether the problem reaches the point of collapse and if, in any case, the only causes are drought and lack of forage to ensure food for ruminants.
The sector thinks
Sources from the Association of Beef Producers (Asoprovac) assure that, “not at all” they have this perception of collapse in slaughterhouses.
They recognize that in recent years there has been more shipments for slaughter due to the good price of meat.
Other sources in the same sector point out that May is a common time for more cows to be sent to the slaughterhouse because the “withholding period” for beef ends at the end of April, that is, the time that the heads of cattle have to be in the farm to be able to collect aid from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
In addition, they believe that, in any case, there may be a greater demand in slaughterhouses specialized exclusively in beef.
Even sources from meat employers, such as Fecic, indicate that they are not aware that associated companies or slaughterhouses have reported any problems, neither for feeding cattle nor for slaughtering them.
However, in the field of individual slaughterhouses there are problems and this is what has been denounced these days from the Macrisa slaughterhouse, whose president, Javier Roldán, pronounces the word “collapse” to define the situation they are experiencing.
The lack of fodder “has triggered” the cost of feeding cows in extensive by having to supplement them with more fodder, “to the point that it is better to keep them in the field than to slaughter them,” he points out.
Roldán acknowledges that May is a period in which slaughter goes up “10-15%” due to the end of said retention period, but this year “it is 30% more” and, instead of being cows for estrangement, they are ” young nurses in full season of productive performance”.
More profitable to charge for meat than for milk
The dairy cow does not escape the trend and it has been months in which the milkman has found it many times more profitable to charge what they give him for the meat of his cow than what they give him for milk, according to the main organization. of producers in the country (Agaprol).
Now, according to Agaprol, it has been noticed that there is a rise in shipments of dairy cows to slaughterhouses and not so much because of the greater profitability that meat gives them but because of the difficulties in ensuring sufficient fodder for the cattle.
Farmers “are doing their math to see how many cows they can feed” given this lack of fodder, an essential food for ruminants and that cannot be completely replaced with feed, as detailed.
In addition, fodder is expensive to import even if it is from neighboring countries such as France, recall other industry sources.
It is evident that there is more culling of cattle on farms, a phenomenon that seems to respond to a mixture of variables such as an attractive price of meat, the increase in production costs on the farm, the end of the “withholding period” and, of course, the drought that threatens the necessary supply of fodder.
What should be seen and what should be aware of is whether this “collapse” and the waiting lists denounced by some agents of the chain end up generalizing or not to the whole of it.