The price of white meat has risen in line with the picture associated with this time of year. But there is also the fact that calves are less spacious in the first half of 2022, due to high feed costs and rising energy costs. As a result, the supply is tighter, while the demand is good. The price of white veal will rise even further in the coming weeks, market experts say.
The quotation for white veal this week was between 5.90 euros to 5.95 euros per kilo. Market experts expect that price to rise even further in the coming weeks and that towards December it may be worth 6.50 euros per kilo.
A generous supply of beef has kept the price of rosé veal flat in recent weeks. The quotations for young and old rosé remain unchanged this week at 5.10 euros and 4.90 euros per kilo respectively.
The price of the sober calves has also not changed in recent weeks. De Kalverhouder reports that integrations try to reduce the cost price of the veal by giving less for the young animals. The price remained unchanged last week, but integrations are expected to try again to push the price.
Concerns about purchasing power
Slaughterhouses and integrations are concerned about consumer purchasing power as energy prices rise so sharply. For veal farmers, the high prices mean that the current feed money contracts are no longer sufficient. While in new contracts no additional compensation is included for the higher energy costs.
About half of the calves that are reared in the Netherlands each year come from the Netherlands. The other half comes from abroad, of which more than three quarters, quite stable over the years, comes from Germany. The origin of the other imported calves is price-driven, according to inquiries. Marketing problems in France, for example, resulted in a higher supply of calves from Ireland this year than in 2021.
There is no doubt that the supply of imported calves will change in the coming years. Europe is working on new regulations regarding transport, especially the duration. And in Germany, for example, the age of calves at the farm is current.
Building blocks are now being put forward for the revision of the regulations, but the definitive contours are not yet visible. That makes it difficult to accurately interpret the impact, say insiders.
Shrinkage dairy farming
Apparently there is not much concern about this in the sector yet. ‘There is concern when it comes to what awaits Dutch veal farming in the coming years’, says chairman Berend Fokkens of the sector committee Kalverhandel. He refers to the decline in dairy farming and the reorganization of the veal sector. Especially in the Gelderse Vallei, where probably 60 to 70 percent of the veal farms will disappear.
The committee chair fears a domino effect. ‘Everything in our sector is geared to the number of calves that there are now. If calf places disappear, the structure of the sector will be called into question. That is not without consequences for, for example, shelters, transporters, animal feed companies and slaughterhouses.’
What will become topical in the veal farming sector in the short term is the fact that the sector wants to become BVD-free. As of January 1, 2024, calves will no longer be raised from farms that are not free from the contagious disease. About 3.5 percent of Dutch dairy farmers have BVD-unknown status. The tightening of the requirements also has consequences for countries from which the Netherlands can import calves.