Brazil beef slaughter increases 33% in 2023

High slaughter pressuring prices
calendar icon 3 October 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Brazilian beef cow slaughter increased from 21 to 33% from January to July 2023 when compared to the same month in the previous year, according to official Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock data. 

On average, MAPA data reports slaughter has increased over 8.5 percent in 2023 thus far. This increased slaughter can also be observed when considering the replacement market prices, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report.

Until cow and calf prices increase, this liquidation cycle should be expected to continue. In conversations with industry, USDA has learned that foreign markets are demanding younger animals. To supply this demand, producers have made investments to shorten the cattle cycle – such as in improved genetics, pastureland, animal feed, and management techniques. Analysts report that whereas the average age of slaughter was 48 months about five years ago, this average is now 36 months. This increased productivity also supports the increased offer of finished animals for slaughter.

The high slaughter at this moment is pressuring prices down, as seen on the following graph “Fed Cattle Average Prices – São Paulo state, 2020 to July 2023”. Whereas in late March 2022, fed cattle prices reached a record of R$ 352 per 15 kilos (around US$ 73), the same weight was being traded exactly a year later at R$ 283 (close to US$57). 

In sum, producers are experiencing about a 21% decrease in values received for the same weight.

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