Royal DSM, the Dutch nutrition giant, just got the green light to sell their methane-busting feed supplement, Bovaer, in Brazil and Chile.
Since the two countries are the first to approve it, they must think the product is remarkcowble. Or is everyone else being a coward? Ok, we’re done…
Just a spoonful errr… quarter teaspoon of Bovaer helps methane emissions go down 30% for dairy cows and up to 90% for beef cows, according to the company’s trials.
Zoom out: Brazil is the top beef exporter, sending a little over 2.5M metric tons of beef into the world in 2020. And they’re the #2 global beef producer, coming in at 10.1M metric tons.
Burp better: Bovaer suppresses the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s rumen. It’s effective immediately and safely breaks down into compounds that are naturally present in the cow’s stomach.
Methane is one of the more potent greenhouse gases because of its superior heat-trapping abilities. But it vanishes from the atmosphere much more quickly. So in the short term, reducing methane emissions would pack a nice punch.
Project clean cow: Bovaer’s competitors are Asparagopsis seaweed, garlic and citrus extract, and lemongrass—all of which supposedly cut ruminants’ methane emissions to varying degrees.
Desperately dry conditions across North America are driving ranchers to sell off their cattle—leaving their futures in question.
Cashing out cows is an effort to cut back on mouths to feed from land that’s too dry to graze or yielding disappointing hay crops. In some regions of hard-hit Oregon, where early irrigation shut-offs sent shockwaves, hay prices have increased nearly 100%. And it’s not just cattle feeling the heat: in the agriculturally diverse state, everything from grass seed to Christmas trees to pears is burning up.
By the numbers:
- Canadian producers expect to cull 20-30% of their herds vs. a normal 10-12%
- 1/3 of U.S. cattle are in drought-stricken areas
- Mexican ranchers expect recovery from the drought to take 2-4 years
Bad hangover: The selling off of cows and heifers today will lower total cattle inventory into 2023 and beyond. Cattle’s long gestation period and required time to reach market weight mean a longer impact.
And ranchers have already started selling cattle at lower weights, reflected in the USDA’s trimmed beef production estimates for this year and next.
Where this goes: Consumers can expect these issues to hit them right in the wallet. Beef prices are likely to increase as early as this fall.
And if history is any indicator, it could be rough; after 2014’s Canadian drought, beef prices in the country jumped 25% and stayed elevated for at least two years.
The English language is a beautiful thing.
You can use a word like grill and mean two different things.
Take the sentence, “A U.S. Senate panel grilled big meat last week.” You might picture your senator at one of those fancy D.C. cookouts. But what actually happened is executives from two of the four major U.S. meatpackers were grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can imagine how precise their word choices were too.
Over the coals: JBS and Tyson were on the hot grates as the committee pressed for answers on how the companies participate in the live cattle market. Questions and testimony focused on two areas: why the spread from live cattle to boxed beef is so big and how much control the major meatpackers have over the entire marketplace.
Some might say a Senate committee hearing might do little more than create headlines. But it’s worth noting there is support from both sides of the aisle for more competition in the cattle industry.
Where this goes: Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced a bill earlier this year focused on increasing the amount of beef bought on the open market, and support for it seems to be building.
The e-commerce meat biz is busy.
Just last week, Canadian meat subscription service truLOCAL, the country’s 14th fastest growing startup, was acquired. And in 2020, U.S.-based peers like ButcherBox and Omaha Steaks saw year-over-year growth ranging from 138% to 300%. Even Beyond Meat, the alt-meat powerhouse, set up its direct-to-consumer shop during the pandemic.
And it’s only the beginning.
While direct-to-consumer companies often snag the headlines, most animal protein sales are still made at the grocery store. But even those transactions are trending online. Before COVID-19, 19% of Americans had purchased groceries online. That number more than doubled to 40% by May.
And beef wants its share of the action.
Sign of the times: The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association signed a partnership with digital shopper marketing platform Chicory to boost beef’s e-profile.
Chicory’s Digital Shopping Aisle serves up recipes and ads to shoppers on the web. From there, consumers are driven to the ‘digital meat case’, where they can plop steak, roast, or ground beef into their digital basket for checkout. A quick pickup at the nearest Kroger, Walmart, or Albertsons is all that’s left to do.
Where this goes: The global pandemic pressured the meat value chain in numerous ways. But by putting the pedal to the metal on e-commerce tools and subscription service systems, the industry is setting itself up for long-term success. Expect to see more in this space sooner rather than later.