The Korea Herald

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Record cattle numbers to keep beef prices stable

By 신용배

Published : July 26, 2011 - 19:28

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The number of cattle in South Korea hit a record high in June and is expected to grow further for a couple of years, helping stabilize beef prices, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that the country had 3.05 million heads of hanwoo beef cows as of last month, up 4.5 percent from a year earlier and the largest ever.

Despite 110,883 heads of hanwoo cows being culled to contain the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that hit the country from November through April, the cattle number expanded as farmers raised more calves. Hanwoo refers to beef cattle produced in South Korea.

The overall increase has caused the price of a 500 kilogram cow to drop 28.1 percent from 5.24 million won ($4,966) in October of last year to 3.77 million won as of late June.

A sharp drop in prices translates into weak earnings with some farmers losing money even if they sell their cattle on the market.

Such developments can negatively influence the local livestock industry, which is trying to cope with a steady rise in imported meat. 

(Yonhap News)