29 Jul 2011

NZ gets access to EU grain-fed beef quota

1:39 pm on 29 July 2011

The European Union has agreed to New Zealand meat exporters having access to an import quota for grain-fed beef.

New Zealand will join a list of countries able to access an annual tariff-free quota of 20,000 tonnes, which will increase in 2012 to 45,000 tonnes.

At present, New Zealand meat exporters only have a quota to export 1300 tonnes of grass-fed beef to the European Union.

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chair Jeanette Maxwell says most of the feedlot beef produced in New Zealand has been exported to Japan, but the market specifies the meat must come from black cattle.

She says the EU deal means grain-fed beef from a wider range of breeds can be exported and will also help diversify export markets which reduces farmers' risk.

Ms Maxwell says there will be a flow on benefit for cropping farmers wanting to supply grain to feedlots.

Trade Minister Tim Groser says increased access to the EU will help grow the beef industry by providing exporters with the chance to offer a wider range of higher valued meat products.

The Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says the EU deal is a real boost for meat exporters.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says he doesn't expect a "flurry of activity" into grain-fed beef production simply because of the quota access, but says farmers are looking at getting into grain-finished beef.