Cattle feeders in Vietnam feel sting of fast changing market

Vietnam cattle feeders spent millions of US dollars importing 311,523 head of Australian young beef calves last year— betting that retail prices for beef on the supermarket shelves had nowhere to go but up. Now the feeders, who buy calves and fatten them for sale to slaughterhouses, say the market is in a downturn, and they’re having second thoughts about the decision to increase their cattle herds. Company officials at Ket Phat Thinh, one of the largest importers of cattle in Vietnam, said there are just too many head in the supply chain and that is driving the retail price of beef down. Vo Xuan Hoa, operating manager of KPT said this year imports of feeder calves from Australia to Vietnam have slowed dramatically to only roughly 20,000 head as feedlot operators move to lower their inventories.

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