Approximately 3,000 Irish bulls departed Irish shores for Turkey in the early hours of Friday morning. The Atlantic M – a Panama-registered livestock carrier – is laden with bulls weighing 220-330kg.

The latest consignment was organised by, Purcell Brothers, a Waterford-based exporting company. Hauliers working on behalf of the company were busy transporting bulls from the company’s base to Waterford Port on Thursday.

The vessel, which was loaded under the supervision of Department of Agriculture vets, is expected to arrive in Turkey on July 18.

Purcell Brothers has been heavily involved in exporting Irish cattle to Turkey this year; the company secured a contract to supply 20,000 cattle to Turkish buyers earlier in 2017.

The latest consignment will bring the total number of cattle exported to the Turkish market by the outfit to approximately 9,000 head; a further 11,000 bulls are expected to be exported before the year draws to a close.

The Turkish market has grown in importance for Irish suckler farmers since it opened to Irish cattle exports in 2016. And, since opening, Turkish importers have sourced almost 30,000 cattle from Ireland.

Last year, Viastar shipped more than 19,000 cattle to Turkey. The four shipments, organised by the Meath-based company, included both finished and weanling bulls.

In a separate deal, earlier this year, another Irish exporter sent a consignment of 1,564 Irish heifers to Turkey.

Irish cattle exports up by 43.5%

Some 135,013 cattle have been exported from Irish shores so far this year, figures from the Department of Agriculture show.

This is a considerable increase on the number exported during the corresponding period in 2016, when just 94,071 cattle were exported.

Calves continue to dominate shipments and, in total, 97,926 calves have been shipped so far this year – an increase of 29,035 head or 42.1% on 2016 levels.

Weanling, store and finished cattle exports have also increased. Some 12,591 weanlings, 9,853 stores and 14,643 finished cattle have been exported so far this year – a collective increase of 11,907 or 47.3%.

Year-on-year export changes (week ending July 1):
  • Weanlings: 12,591 head (+6,208 head or +97.3%);
  • Store cattle: 9,853 head (+3,732 head or +61%);
  • Calves: 97,926 head (+29,035 head or +42.1%);
  • Finished cattle: 14,643 head (+1,967 head or +15.5%).