October 5,  2020


COVID-19 disruptions open Canada to more beef from UK and Europe


Beef from Europe and the United Kingdom entering Canada have rose in value by $56 million in the first seven months of this year, compared to the same period in 2019.

The increase is attributed to the decline in Canadian beef production in Alberta which has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Fawn Jackson, director of government and international relations with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association.

The disease has forced the temporary shutdown or reduced operation of plants owned by Cargill and JBS due to infections of workers. Cargill's facility in High River, Alberta, processes about 40% of the beef produced in Canada.

To alleviate tight supply, Canada imported more beef than normal this year. Europe took a sizable portion of imports as shipments from Australia dropped.

In the first five months of 2020, Australian beef volumes to Canada dropped 22%, Jackson said.

From January to July, the European Union exported $74 million worth of beef to Canada. The amount is bigger than annual EU shipments to Canada for 2017 and 2018 which were around $15 million.

Canada sell $17 million in beef to the UK and the EU in the first seven months of the year - up 37% from the same period in 2019.

- The Western Producer