Beefing up: meeting Top 10 Beef Producing Countries Worldwide

Beef producing countries

Introduction

The beef market plays a fundamental role in trade, with constant growth and expanding global demand.

Beef is appreciated for its quality, flavor and culinary versatility, making it an essential item in the diet of many cultures around the world.

 

Furthermore, its production and export generate significant impacts on the economy of producing countries, as the sector generates employment for millions of people and contributes to the trade balance.

This article will rank the Top 10 Beef Producing Countries in the world, based on the millions of tons of beef produced and the number of heads of cattle, in 2022.

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Ranking Top 10 Beef Producing Countries in the World

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the 10 largest beef producers in the world in 2022 are shown in the following table:[1]

Position

Country or Group of Countries

Millions of tons of beef produced

Number of cattle heads (millions)

1st position

USA

12.89

92.08

2nd position

Brazil

10.35

193.78

3rd position

China

7.18

98.17

4th position

India

4.35

306.7

5th position

Argentina

3.14

53.4

6th position

Mexico

2.18

17.31

7th position

Australia

1.88

23.04

8th position

France

1.58

17.4

9th position

Canada

1.41

11.51

10th position

Russia

1.32

17.79

 

In this way, it can be stated that:

  • USA: The United States occupies a prominent position, being the first largest producer of beef in the world. The country has a well-developed supply chain and a significant global presence, which contributes to its leadership in the international market. It has a production of 12.89 million tons of beef produced in 2022 and the country has a large cattle herd, with around 92 million heads and a highly efficient beef production system.[2]
  • Brazil: Brazil follows the USA, with a production of 10.35 million tons of beef produced in 2022. The country has one of the largest cattle herds in the world with around 193 million heads. It is a robust industry with high production levels, as its territorial extension and favorable climate allow large herds of cattle to be raised, resulting in an abundant supply of quality meat. Brazil invests in technology and good agricultural practices, ensuring the safety and reliability of its products. It is important to note that Brazil is the second largest producer of beef in the world, but it is also the first and largest exporter of beef in the world.[3]
  • China: in the third position of the list is China with a production of 7.18 million tons of beef in 2022 and a herd of more than 98 million heads. In turn, China is the largest beef consuming country in the world and its production is growing rapidly.[4]
  • India: It ranks fourth place as the world's largest beef producer with a production of 4.35 million tons in 2022. This may seem surprising considering that the majority of Indians are Hindus, who consider cows sacred and abstain from eat them. However, India has a population that already represents around 20% of the total Global population and in addition, the country has a large cattle herd with around 306 million heads. The favorable climate, the availability of pastures and the investment in technology and infrastructure that the government is making, help to improve the efficiency and quality of production. It should be noted that India has been demonstrating notable growth as a beef exporter in recent years.[5]

Beef producing countries 2-1

  • Argentina: with 3.14 million tons of beef produced in 2022, Argentina is the fifth largest beef producer in the world. The country has a very considerable cattle herd, with more than 53 million heads and a meat production system highly efficient. Argentina has vast areas of natural pastures and extensive breeding, which results in animals raised sustainably. Furthermore, the government invests in improvements in logistics infrastructure to improve its export capabilities.[3]
  • Mexico: in sixth place in the ranking is Mexico, with a production of 2.18 million tons last year. This country has a growing cattle herd, with around 17 million heads. It is important to highlight that Mexico has a strong domestic market for beef, which boosts production in addition to the technological and infrastructure investment that the country is making.[6]
  • Australia: the next in the list is Australia, with a production of 1.88 million tons of beef produced in 2022. The country has a cattle herd of approximately 24 million animals, which provides a solid base for beef production. Australia has a vast area of natural pastures and innovative livestock systems that guarantee high quality production. The country stands out in international trade by establishing strategic trade agreements and expanding its markets, being an important player as an exporter of beef in the world.[3]
  • France: France is in eight place with a production of 1.58 million tons of beef and the country has almost 18 million heads, with most animals being raised extensively on pastures. Beef production in France is an important activity for the country's economy, generating employment and income for millions of people. The sector is also an important exporter. [7]
  • Canada: in second-to-last place is Canada, with a production of 1.41 million tons of beef in 2022. The country has more than 11 million heads and has a strong domestic market for beef, which motivates its production. Canada has been experiencing continuous growth in beef production and exports worldwide. It has a favorable environment for raising livestock, producing quality meat that meets strict safety and animal welfare standards.[3]
  • Russia: the tenth position in the Top 10 largest beef producing countries is occupied by Russia, with a production of 1.32 million tons in 2022. Russia has a cattle herd that provides a solid base for beef production with approximately 18 million heads. Russia invests heavily in technology and infrastructure for beef production, meaning that production is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.[8]

Beef producing countries 1-1

Conclusion

The world's largest beef producers include countries in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. One of the challenges of the modern world is the search for a more sustainable diet and beef plays a pivotal role in this scenario.

The USA, Brazil and China account for around 51% of global beef production.

Beef is an important source of nutrition for many around the world. And demand has been growing: in the last 50 years, meat production has more than tripled. The world today produces more than 340 million tons per year.

 

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References

[1] United States Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, “Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade,” USDA, Oct. 2023, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/livestock_poultry.pdf 

[2] National Agricultural Society, “USA produces 12 million tons of beef with only half of the Brazilian herd,” National Agricultural Society, Nov. 2022, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available:  https://www.sna.agr.br/producao-americana-de-boi-registra-dois-milhoes-de-toneladas-a-mais-que-a-brasileira-com-metade-do-rebanho- 

[3] Isabella Milião, “The largest beef exporters: check out an analysis of the global market,” Conexos, Jun. 2023, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.conexos.com.br/carne-bovina-exportacao/ 

[4] Kellen Severo, “Demand for animal protein will grow in China,” Mar. 2023, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://jovempan.com.br/opiniao-jovem-pan/comentaristas/kellen-severo/demanda-por-proteina-animal-crescera-na-china.html 

[5] D. Teixeira, “If the cow is sacred in India, how do Indians export their meat? Read more at: https://veja.abril.com.br/coluna/duvidas-universais/se-a-vaca-e-sagrada-na-india-como-os-indianos-exportam-sua-carne.” Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://veja.abril.com.br/coluna/duvidas-universais/se-a-vaca-e-sagrada-na-india-como-os-indianos-exportam-sua-carne 

[6] P. Alves, “Mexico: production and consumption of beef,” SCOT Consultadoria, Sep. 2011, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: www.scotconsultoria.br.com 

[7] “Beef Production.” Accessed: Oct. 30, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://agridata.ec.europa.eu/extensions/DashboardBeef/BeefProduction.html 

[8] V. Albuquerque, “Russia Seeks Increase in Beef Production”, Accessed: Oct. 19, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.brangus.org.br/noticias-raca-brangus/rssia-busca-aumento-na-produo-de-carne-bovina 

Ana Vanessa Dias Sousa (Researcher FeedInov CoLAB)

About the author

With a degree in Veterinary Sciences from the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, she worked for five years as a field veterinarian and in a pig and cattle feed factory. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a sales manager and technical support for pigs, cattle, rabbits and poultry in mainland Portugal and the Azores. She is currently at Feedinov Colab as a Researcher in the One Health Department.

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