5,000 Irish cattle head east for Turkey

Two separate consignments of Irish cattle – totalling almost 5,000 head – left Irish shores for Turkey late last week.

The shipments, organised by two different exporting companies, consisted of approximately 3,000 weanling bulls and just under 2,000 weanling heifers.

This brings the total number of Irish cattle exported to Turkey to over 35,000 head – the equivalent of one week’s kill in Irish beef plants.

Purcell Brothers – a Waterford-based exporting company – sent 3,000 weanling bulls from Waterford Port on Saturday morning. Loaded onboard the MV Alondra, the vessel is expected to arrive in the Turkish port of Mersin on September 4.

John Hallisey – another Munster-based exporter – also overseen the loading of almost 2,000 heifers for Turkey late last week.

Uncertain future for Turkish exports

Purcell Brothers will also organise a further two shipments – each consisting of 3,000 weanling bulls – to Turkey during the month of September.

However, a move by Turkish authorities could have a negative impact on the number of Irish cattle being exported to that country in the near future.

The Turkish Minister for Agriculture, Ahmet Esref Fakibaba, moved to formalise an agreement that would clear the way for private Turkish companies to import young bulls from South America earlier this month.

Previously, ESK – Turkey’s Meat and Milk Board – handled imports of young bulls from both South America and Europe. This was particularly attractive to exporters, from both countries, as payments were essentially guaranteed by the Turkish government.

However, the move now means that ESK will only handle exports of young bulls from Europe; this has caused concerns for exporters operating here in Ireland.

The move could see Turkish importers prioritise cattle sourced from South America – simply due to the large numbers available for export at any one time.

The main Turkish buyers will be able to import upwards of 20,000 cattle from South America in a single shipment if they wish to do so – a factor that is said to be a major plus for the Turkish importers involved.