November 28, 2003
Korea Cattle Numbers Increase By 41000 in Third Quarter
Korean cattle numbers at the end of the third quarter totalled 1,464 million head, an increase of 41,000 on the previous quarter. The number of Hanwoo cattle increased by 31,000 head while beef cattle rose by 10,000 head. Interestingly, the number of cattle artificially inseminated this year increased significantly, to 288,000 for calendar year to date June 2003, 7.2% higher than the same period last year.
In line with seasonal tendencies, it is expected that increased demand for high quality beef in the lead up to the New Year period will result in cattle numbers falling to around 1,448 million at the end of December. However, numbers should increase again next year, reaching around 1.458 million at the end of March 2004.
With strong prices for Hanwoo calves, many farmers are retaining stock in order to expand their herds. This has been reflected in a reduction in slaughter of female Hanwoo cattle by almost 27% for calendar year to October compared with the same period in 2002. The number of female Hanwoo cattle marketed between December and February is expected to fall 25% compared with the same period last year. This, in conjunction with high demand from processors, is expected to see average prices for 500kg Hanwoo cattle remain at the five million won per head ($A 6,178) mark until at least February 2004.
Male and female calf prices, which were similar in October 2002, have diverged. Female calf prices averaged 3.5 million won/head, while male calves were priced at 2.65 million won/head at the end of October 2003. These calf prices are also expected to remain at these levels until at least February next year.