Japan's widening ban on cattle shipments after the discovery of radiation-contaminated feed will reduce domestic beef output in the short term, but it remains unclear to what degree suppliers such as Australia and the U.S. could benefit.

Japan has extended its ban on beef cattle shipments to four prefectures in the northeast after discovering that some farmers had fed their cattle straw that was left outdoors following the March 11 earthquake and subsequently contaminated with radioactive cesium from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

In fiscal 2009/10, combined cattle shipments from the four prefectures -- Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Tochigi -- had accounted for about 13% of total shipments in Japan.

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