What is a "cookie"?
A "cookie" is a piece of information, usually small and identified by a name, which may be sent to your browser by a website you are visiting. Your web browser will store it for a period of time, and send it back to the web server each time you log on again.
Different types of cookies are placed on the sites:
Cookies strictly necessary for the proper functioning of the site
Cookies deposited by third party sites to improve the interactivity of the site, to collect statistics
Cookies strictly necessary for the site to function
These cookies allow the main services of the site to function optimally. You can technically block them using your browser settings but your experience on the site may be degraded.
Furthermore, you have the possibility of opposing the use of audience measurement tracers strictly necessary for the functioning and current administration of the website in the cookie management window accessible via the link located in the footer of the site.
Name of the cookie
CAS and PHP session cookies
Login credentials, session security
Saving your cookie consent choices
Audience measurement cookies (AT Internet)
Name of the cookie
Trace the visitor's route in order to establish visit statistics.
Store the anonymous ID of the visitor who starts the first time he visits the site
Identify the numbers (unique identifiers of a site) seen by the visitor and store the visitor's identifiers.
About the AT Internet audience measurement tool :
AT Internet's audience measurement tool Analytics is deployed on this site in order to obtain information on visitors' navigation and to improve its use.
The French data protection authority (CNIL) has granted an exemption to AT Internet's Web Analytics cookie. This tool is thus exempt from the collection of the Internet user's consent with regard to the deposit of analytics cookies. However, you can refuse the deposit of these cookies via the cookie management panel.
Good to know:
The data collected are not cross-checked with other processing operations
The deposited cookie is only used to produce anonymous statistics
The cookie does not allow the user's navigation on other sites to be tracked.
Third party cookies to improve the interactivity of the site
This site relies on certain services provided by third parties which allow :
to offer interactive content;
improve usability and facilitate the sharing of content on social networks;
view videos and animated presentations directly on our website;
protect form entries from robots;
monitor the performance of the site.
These third parties will collect and use your browsing data for their own purposes.
How to accept or reject cookies
When you start browsing an eZpublish site, the appearance of the "cookies" banner allows you to accept or refuse all the cookies we use. This banner will be displayed as long as you have not made a choice, even if you are browsing on another page of the site.
You can change your choices at any time by clicking on the "Cookie Management" link.
France is the first European producer of meat. In 2016, France produced 1.46 millions Tonnes CWE with 4.7 million slaughtered animals, from a total herd of 19 million heads. Although the cattle production has declined by 20.5% since 1980, and by 4.5% since 2007 (figure 46), France still ranks first in terms of beef production in Europe. The herd is composed of 3.63 million dairy cows and 4.22 million suckler cows, respectively 15.4% and 34.2% of the European Union livestock.
In 2016, France slaughters stand for 18.7% of the EU total, mainly from cows (44%), young bulls (26%) and calves (15%) (figure 47). Culled cows come from the dairy and suckler herds in equal shares. Young bulls and heifers slaughtered mainly originate from suckler farms. These animals are raised up to 18 to 24 months old. Calves intended for slaughter are mostly from dairy cattle, to produce veal.
However, the suckler herd contributes two thirds of the beef tonnage produced in France, and to the export of many animals.
France is the first European producer of meat.
In 2016, France produced 1.46 millions Tonnes CWE with 4.7 million slaughtered animals, from a total herd of 19 million heads. Although the cattle production has declined by 20.5% since 1980, and by 4.5% since 2007 (figure 47), France still ranks first in terms of beef production in Europe. The herd is composed of 3.63 million dairy cows and 4.22 million suckler cows, respectively 15.4% and 34.2% of the European Union livestock. In 2016, France slaughters stand for 18.7% of the EU total, mainly from cows (44%), young bulls (26%) and calves (15%) (figure 47). Culled cows come from the dairy and suckler herds in equal shares. Young bulls and heifers slaughtered mainly originate from suckler farms. These animals are raised up to 18 to 24 months old. Calves intended for slaughter are mostly from dairy cattle, to produce veal. However, the suckler herd contributes two thirds of the beef tonnage produced in France, and to the export of many animals.
Source : Inrae, by Eurostat
Foreign exchanges in France
Exchanges in live animals In 2016, France exported 1.32 million live animals. It is the first live animals exporter, accounting for almost 40% of the European total, ahead of Germany (10%), Holland (8%) and Spain (6%) (Chatellier, 2016). Animals for export represent a significant part of the French herd. Indeed, French suckler farms are mainly oriented towards the production of heifers and young bulls (or ‘grazers’) often destined to be fattened abroad, particularly in Italy (64.4%) and Spain (23.7%). In 2016, 85% of exported animals were heifers and young males. Live cattle exportations have increased since 2014, after a relative decline of 22% between 2011 and 2013 due to a fall in exports to Italy and Spain because of the economic crisis (figure 48). In France, the lean livestock market (young cattle destined to be fattened) is very important as it stands for 95% of exported animals. In 2016, 1 074 225 heads of lean cattle were exported, mainly for the Italian (819 919 heads) and Spanish (135 654 heads) markets, but also to third countries such as Algeria, Marocco, Turkey and Lebanon, a relatively unstable market, but accounting for only 6.6% of the exports of young bulls (Figure 49). France imports few live animals. These imports have dropped by 68% since 2010, to reach 44 225 heads in 2016, mainly from Holland and Belgium (61%). In 2015, animals imported alive were mainly calves (61%) and cattle for slaughter (17%) or fattening (22%) (Interbev 2016).
Source : Inra, by Eurostat
Figure 49 : Main flows of French young bulls in 2016
Source : GEB-Institut de l’Elevage, by FranceAgriMer, Douanes Française, change by Inra
France exports 16% of its beef production, primarily within the European market : only 6.5% out of the 235.8 thousand T CWE exported are sold to third countries. 80% of the exports of France are fresh and chilled beef products, sold to Italy (34%), Greece (20%) and Germany (20%). Nevertheless, after a peak in 2011, exports dropped down by 25% in 5 years (Table 7).
Table 7 : Evolution of french beef exportations
Beef 1000 tonnes cwe
Source : Inra, by FranceAgriMer et Douanes françaises
French imports of beef are higher than exports. They account for 321.1 thousand tonnes cwe in 2016. The main suppliers of France are the Netherlands (21%), Germany (12%), Ireland (9%), where the dairy production is predominant (Table 8). Imports mainly concern fresh beef (66.1%) but also frozen meat (28.3%).
Table 8 : Evolution of french beef importations
Beef 1000 tonnes cwe
Source : Inra, by FranceAgriMer et Douanes françaises
Thus, France has a deficit in beef and veal, but a large surplus in live cattle. This explains why France’s trade balance is negative in volumes but positive in monetary terms. Furthermore, consumer habits are changing in France like in other EU countries, in a way that affects beef production. Although French beef consumption is still the highest in the European Union with 23.5 kg cwe per capita per year in 2015, it has been down by almost 12% for ten years. In 2015, 35% of the beef consumed in France came from the dairy sector, and 65% from the suckler sector. The demand is more and more concentrated on minced beef (Lherm & al, 2017).
Tipology of French herds
France has the largest suckler herd in Europe and the second largest dairy herd after Germany in 2016. French cattle population has remained quite stable since the 2000s. However, the French dairy herd was almost divided in two since the 1980s, due to progress in zootechnical performances and the establishment of quotas within the EU. In the same time, its suckler herd has increased, partly thanks to the Common Agricultural Policy reforms in the last 40 years : it has almost doubled since the 1980s, partially offsetting the decline in the dairy herd. In 2016, the French bovine herd is composed of 40% cows, 27% animals less than one year old, 19% animals between 1 and 2 years old, 11% heifers older than 2 years old and 2% of males older than 2 years old (Eurostat 2017). Cattle breeding is present throughout France, except in the cereal plains and the wine regions, but with a very variable density according to the region considered. Dairy production is mainly found in the north, north-east and north-west of France, called the "croissant laitier" (Figure 50), while suckler production is mainly concentrated in central France : Massif Central, Pays de la Loire and north of the Deux Sèvres, Pyrenean (Figure 51).
Figure 50 : Distribution of dairy cows in 2016
Figure 51 : Distribution of suckler cows in 2016
The French national herd is divided into 199 000 farms ; this number has dropped by a third since 2005 (GEB-Idele 2016c). France counts 121,200 suckler farms and 77,000 dairy farms according to the latest general agricultural census (RA 2010). However, 19,600 farms are mixed dairy-suckler. As with dairy farms, suckler farms’ size is variable. They have 34.8 cows on average, and almost half of the farms have more than 20 suckler cows. The latter account for nearly 80% of suckler cows. Thus, close to three quarters of the suckler farms are specialized in this production. The last quarter has an associated breeding activity: dairy cows, sheep or goats. Indeed, 19,600 dairy farms own nearly 450,000 suckler cows, or 11% of the livestock. Finally, very small farms representing 8% of suckler cows account for only 0.6% of the livestock (Institut de l’Elevage 2014). Dairy farms have an average of 47.1 cows per farm and are highly specialized (Figure 52). Nearly half of them have between 30 and 70 dairy cows, 16% between 70 and 100, and 8% more than 100 cows. Farms between 30 and 70 cows own almost 50% of the livestock (GEB-Idele 2016c).
The 24% of farms which have more than 70 dairy cows represent more than 40% of the livestock. Finally, small farms of less than 30 dairy cows represent almost 25% of the farms, but concentrate only 8% of the dairy cows (GEB-Idele 2016c). Concerning veal calves, the production is divided into 2940 farms. They are located mainly in the north-west and south-west of France. 85% of the production is concentrated in only 8 regions out of 21 (Interbev 2016)
Whether associated with another production or not, beef systems can be characterized by combinations of the categories of males and females marketed (Figure 53): - Systems with the production of young bulls or heifers, fattened or not - Systems with production of young bulls heavier feeders, and females fattened or not - Systems with production of young bulls and heifers fattened - Systems with production of veal from suckled calves, and heavy calves - Systems with production of steers and heifers fattened - Specialized fattening systems
Figure 52 : Typology of dairy farms and mixed farms in 2015 (threshold of visibility100 farms)
Figure 53: Typology of suckler farms of at least 20 cows (threshold of visibility100 farms)
Among the suckler farms with more than 20 cows, 21% have only grassland and no crops, and 37% have maize silage. The largest proportions of farms with maize silage occur in the Atlantic Arc and northern regions of France (Figure 54 and 55). Finally, 43% of the farms combine grassland and crops (without corn silage) in unequal proportions (Institut de l’Elevage 2014), particularly in the north-east and south-west. In the end, suckler systems mainly use grassland and preserved fodder (hay, silage, wrapped grass), valuing grassland less-favoured areas, where the share of grassland in the agricultural land is high, while dairy farms are more based on maize silage systems, or using dry feed rations, concentrates, and sometimes grassland (especially in mountain and piedmont areas).
Figure 54 : Distribution of suckler farms over 20 cows (no dairy cows) depending on the presence or absence of silage corn and crops, depending on grassland areas