Further contracts to ship Irish cattle to Turkey expected

Irish suckler farmers are holding on to the hope that further contracts, which would see more Irish cattle being shipped to Turkey, will be agreed this year.

The Turkish market has grown in importance since the first boatload of Irish animals departed for the Middle Eastern market back in the autumn of 2016.

Since the market opened to Irish cattle, some seven boatloads have departed Irish shores. The latest consignment was organised by the Waterford-based exporting company Purcell Brothers.

The exporting company has sent two boatloads of cattle to Turkey this year as part of a 20,000-head contract.

Last year, Viastar shipped more than 19,000 cattle to Turkey. The four shipments included both finished and weanling bulls. In a separate deal, earlier this year another Irish exporter also sent a consignment of 1,564 Irish heifers to Turkey.

And hopes are growing that similar contracts could be agreed this year.

In a statement last week, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said exports to Turkey are very strong and it is expected that there will be further contracts as the year progresses.

Nearly 27,000 head of Irish cattle have now been exported to Turkey. And the added competition from exporters is having a positive impact on cattle prices in numerous marts throughout the country.

IFA National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods, said lighter carcass weights and a strong live export trade will help to negate the impact of higher numbers for the second half of the year.

Predictions suggest that 100,000 extra cattle will be slaughtered in Ireland this year and supplies have climbed by 27,000 head above 2016 levels already this year.

In addition, Woods said, live exports have been very strong this year and are up 35,000 head to reach 116,000. Over 90,000 calves have been exported from Ireland this year, he added.

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